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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Water / Wastewater

Drinking water and wastewater systems account for approximately 3-4 percent of energy use in the United States, resulting in the emissions of more than 45 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.

Because these services are so energy intensive, they provide an excellent opportunity for efficiency, savings, and reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Improved energy efficiency is also an important component of a utility's overall management and will help ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation's water and wastewater infrastructure.

EPA's Sustainable Water Infrastructure program provides materials and funding sources for water utilities to ease budget strains through energy efficiency - while contributing to climate change mitigation and both local and national energy independence.

Determine Baseline Energy Use

The first step to improving energy usage is to understand current energy use patterns. Resources for benchmarking current use can show where efficiency opportunities lie. Benchmarking and audits at water utilities can also be part of broader climate change mitigation and clean energy efforts at the local government level.

Cut Energy Use and Costs

Energy efficiency can reduce energy use, energy costs, and GHG emissions at water and wastewater treatment facilities. EPA offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help water utilities manage energy and develop an effective energy management program, including conducting an energy audit.

Additionally, states are beginning to develop programs to assist public water systems and wastewater treatment facilities in better managing their energy use. (Scroll to the bottom of the linked page for examples.)

Go Green with Renewable Energy Options

Water and wastewater utilities also have excellent opportunities available for generating their own power and reducing GHG emissions - through 'combined heat and power' strategies and alternate energy sources.

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