Water conservation in energy efficiency programmes, whitepaper


The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has issued a whitepaper highlighting how energy utilities integrate and value water efficiency, especially in demand-side management programmes.

The whitepaper Saving Watts to Save Drops: Inclusion of Water Efficiency in Energy Efficiency Programmes, provides an overview of practices for quantifying and reporting water savings from demand-side measures.

The report discusses regulations implemented by US states to guide energy utilities in including water savings into cost-effectiveness screening for energy efficiency programmes.

ACEEE found that:

  • Leadership of utility regulatory commissions has helped the states and utilities that are making the most progress in tackling the energy–water nexus. States in western US, whom a majority are affected by droughts, have regulatory commissions setting water efficiency goals for energy companies. These states have over the past years standardised guidance to help energy companies maximise water efficiency as well track the savings.
  • Many utilities especially in California continue to make progress in operating joint energy and water efficiency programmes. However, technical and regulatory barriers remain a challenge. For instance, water and energy system operators are required to report to different levels of government.
  • The estimated value of water and the energy intensity associated with it vary greatly according to analytical scope, technical assumptions, and location-specific factors.
  • Common residential and commercial direct-install measures, such as low flow shower heads and faucets, account for the majority of utilities’ claimed water savings because they are easy to measure.

ACEEE used a number of criteria in selecting programmes to review in the study. The criteria include:

  1. Robust tracking of water savings. Examples include energy utilities that make available water savings data, on a gallons or kWh basis, within annual claimed savings reports.
  2. Goal-setting for energy-water savings.
  3. Incorporation of the avoided cost of water savings as a non-energy benefit in cost-effectiveness screening.
  4. Inclusion of energy-water savings in long-term resource planning.
  5. Efforts to foster collaboration between energy and water utilities.
  6. Promoting innovative equipment and programme designs.
  7. Calculating life-cycle embedded energy savings.

Programmes reviewed include the Water-Energy Cost Effectiveness Calculator being implemented by the California Public Utilities Commission and investor-owned utilities, Wisconson state’s Focus on Energy, and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility.

Download the whitepaper here…