Energy Efficiency: Embedded Electricity and Water

Energy Efficiency: Embedded Electricity and Water

Energy Efficiency: Embedded Electricity and Water

Did you know that 5-7% of all the electricity produced in the U.S. is used to produce, transport and recycle water used for residential, commercial and industrial purposes according to the U.S. Department of Energy. For water-starved states which have to transport water long distances such as California, this average jumps to 20%.

Clearly water offers great potential when it comes to saving electricity. Curiously, the systems that create the water use in the U.S. are invisible to most people – except those whose jobs involve water. Anyone who works in water would tell you that America’s water infrastructure equipment needs to be updated. Aging pumps, transportation and processing equipment are most importantly, not energy efficient.

Unfortunately, the issue of retrofitting water infrastructure is a complex one involving multiple constituencies, funding and coordination issues. Sounds challenging, right?

At Axiom, our process starts with identifying the barriers and underserved needs of key stakeholders. In this case our key stakeholders included: federal and state departments of energy, water system specifiers, utilities and product manufacturers.

Key barriers include:

  • Lack of awareness about the significant energy saving opportunities from water system upgrades
  • Lack of detailed information about equipment energy loads, equipment age and viable alternatives to create a baseline for future improvements
  • Managing first-cost/financing programs to address risk for new energy water saving equipment
  • Pilot beta test project which prove out energy and water savings
  • Increase participation and collaboration by water specifiers, utilities and government stakeholders

Key needs include:

  • New technologies and systems to remove inefficiencies
  • Quantifying and prioritizing equipment upgrades based on both energy and water saving ROIs
  • Innovative financing structures that allow equipment investments to span the life of the new equipment
  • Incentive programs that address the specific needs of water specifiers who design and approve new water infrastructure systems

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