Energy Self-Assessment Tools and Energy Audits for Water and Wastewater Utilities
Good afternoon and welcome to today's webcast which is entitled: Energy Self-Assessment Tools and Energy Audits for Water and Wastewater Utilities. My name is Jim Horne and I'm with EPA Office of Water and I will moderate today's session. The webcast is being sponsored by the Office of Water and we expect to sponsor three additional webcasts over the next several months. Thank you all very much for joining us today.
We'll start by going a few housekeeping items. The materials in the webcast have been reviewed by EPA staff for technical accuracy. The mention of any commercial enterprise, product or publication does not mean that EPA endorses them.
Guide to Our Webcasts
First, I'd like to briefly summarize some of the features of today's webcast. If you have any technical difficulties, you can request assistance by entering your technical issue into the box at the bottom of your screen and clicking the ask button to receive technical support. Responses to technical questions will appear at the bottom of your screen. We also encourage you to submit questions to our speakers during the webcast. A question and answer session will follow each of the presentation sections.
To ask a question, simply type it in the box located at the bottom of your screen. Then click on the ask button. Given the number of participants today, I encourage you to submit your questions early. We'll try to answer as many questions as possible. However, due to the number of participants, not all the questions will be answered. We have posted the speakers' contact information in case you would like to contact them after the webcast.
If you would like to see closed captioning, please make sure you've turned off your popup blocker and click on the closed captioning button on the top of your screen. Please click on the details and download button to access our speakers' contact information and to download a copy of the slides.
We will be asking you poll questions throughout the webcast, and these questions will be posted on the slide window. Additionally, at the end of the webcast, you will be asked to complete a short evaluation survey. Please submit your questions in that same slide window by clicking one of the radio buttons.
Finally, the webcast will be archived indefinitely so you can access it a few weeks after today's live presentation. The archived webcast will be posted on EPA's website at www.epa.gov /npdes/ training. Our main speakers today are Jason Turgeon from EPA's regional office in Boston and Eric Byous from our regional office in San Francisco.
Jason has worked for EPA Region 1 in Boston, Massachusetts, since 2004. He specializes in the intersection of water and energy, and works with municipal drinking water and wastewater systems on energy related issues. His interest focuses on developing a 21st century sustainable water infrastructure that integrates the management and reuse of water, nutrient and energy resources found in what we now consider wastewater. Jason has a BS in Environmental Geology from Northeastern University.
Eric Byous works in our EPA Pacific Southwest regional office in San Francisco, California. Eric's current work is focused around coordinating technical and financial resources within the public and private sectors to accomplish ontheground sustainability projects at water and wastewater utilities that reduce operating costs, create jobs, and protect human health and water quality.
Energy Use and Water Utilities
Before we turn to Jason, I'd like to spend just a few minutes describing EPA's overall framework to promote effective energy management with wastewater and water utilities and describe how today's webcast fits into that framework.
As many of you know, water and wastewater treatment represents about 3% of the nation's energy consumption. About $4 billion is spent annually for energy costs to run drinking water and wastewater utilities. This is equivalent to approximately 56 billion kilowatt hours. This also equates to adding approximately 45 million tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. So it's really a significant contributor of the greenhouse gases and also to overall costs for municipalities.
At the same time, energy represents the largest controllable costs of providing water or wastewater services to the public. There are over 16,000 municipal wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. and over 50,000 community water systems. For wastewater, energy represents 25 30% in many cases of the total plants operation and maintenance costs. And obviously as energy costs rise, operating costs rise for utilities. So this is a good back drop to understand sort of the extent of the issue facing water and wastewater utilities.
Energy Reduction at Water Utilities
Energy reduction at water utilities makes sense for a lot of reasons. As you can see from the next slide, reduced energy usage, reduced operating costs, reduced climate impacts and carbon footprint and sustainability of water infrastructure in addition to just simply saving water. There are lots of reasons why it's an important issue.
Why Focus on Management?
Why focus on management which is really kind of what we're here to talk about today. The energy issues are here to stay and will only get more serious. There are no quick fixes out there. Lots of technologies, lots of individual projects out there taking place and all of these together are fine. But something is needed to pull it all together which we really refer to as a system here. This type of systematic management will help utilities ensure a continuing focus on energy efficiency, not just the focus that looks at a particular project of the day or the week or the month. But a continuing focus. And a PlanDoCheckAct management systems approach which is really the back drop what we're going to be talking about today has worked very effectively in many different sectors as well as water and wastewater.
Managing to Maximize Energy Efficiency
The next slide really shows you the cover of a guidebook that we put together back in 2008 entitled: Insuring a Sustainable Future: An Energy Management Guidebook for Wastewater and Water Utilities.
The guidebook is designed to help utilities systematically assess current energy costs and practices, which is really the focus of today's webcast. Set measurable performance improvement goals and monitor and measure progress over time. The guidebook is organized around a management systems approach for energy conservation based on the PlanDoCheckAct process which is inherent as many of you may know in environmental management systems. So everything we talk about on today's webcast and the subsequent webcasts will fit very nicely into the framework that is described in more detail through the guidebook. And to obtain a copy of the guidebook, there's a link below to get a copy and download it and use it in your organization. So I certainly would encourage you to do that.
The PlanDoCheckAct Approach
The PlanDoCheckAct approach is amazing in its simplicity and in many ways its simplicity is what makes it so powerful. It really allows utilities to systematically assess and manage energy opportunities and take appropriate actions. And it's not really a project; it is really a way to install a system or systematic approach within your utility to manage energy for the long haul. You as you can see from the diagram and this is sort of a simple diagram of sort of the basic steps in this PlanDoCheckAct approach. At the beginning of the process you are really kind of in the planning stage where you establish base lines for current energy usage; identify priorities, energy priorities within your utilities and set improvement goals and targets.
In the Do Phase, you implement a series of actions to achieve your goals. This is really where you sort of take what you've decided to do in the planning phase and do it, if you will, in terms of a project or other operational changes that you may want to take at your utility.The Checking Phase at the bottom of the screen really goes back to this notion of monitoring and measuring those improvements that you want to achieve with the various types of projects or other operational improvements in your utilities. It's really a way for you to say are we achieving what we wanted to achieve based on the decisions that we've made.
Then finally, the Act Phase which is really the last part of this diagram really allows you to evaluate progress again, apply lessons learned from implementing various energy efficiency projects, and modify your energy management program as necessary to address upcoming challenges. Because as we all know, again, energy is really a continuing challenge. One of the most important continuing challenges that utilities face today.
So this entire approach, the entire PlanDoCheckAct approach is based around the notion of continual improvement. But continual improvement at a pace and based on priorities that you set for energy efficiency within your own utilities. So it really is an approach that you control and use to your advantage.
So what I would like to do now is turn to our next speaker which is Jason Turgeon from EPA Region 1, who will describe a series of selfassessment tools available for utilities. Jason, thanks again for joining us this afternoon and take it away.
Section 1: SelfAssessment Tools
Thanks, Jim. Again, my name is Jason Turgeon. I'm with EPA's Region 1 office in Boston, Massachusetts. And I am going to present the first two sections today. I'll be doing most of the talking for the next 45 minutes or so. I would encourage people to use the question box on the side if you have any questions and we will have a break for questions about halfway through and then another pause for questions when I finished.
And I'm going to start out with our first section which is on selfassessment tools. And as you can see on the slide, this is really about stuff that you can do on your own with no outside help and stuff that doesn't cost you anything. We're going to go over a number of tools pretty quickly. Just an overview to let you know what's out there. We do want to emphasize that all of these tools do fit into the PlanDoCheckAct management philosophy. Usually as a checking tool and planning tool as that part.
EPA Energy SelfAssessment Tools
Okay, so we are going to start out and I will cover about eight tools. The first three are from EPA and the next group are tools that are not from EPA but are from organizations that we work with and we know that are doing good work.
NonEPA Energy SelfAssessment Tools
So we'll cover these three tools first and then we'll do a very brief overview of the five tools that are on this second slide here.
EPA Portfolio Manager
Starting out with the EPA tools, the first one we have is called portfolio manager. Portfolio manager is a tool that's been around for many, many years and it serves a number of different markets. You can benchmark schools, office buildings, hotels, hospitals, about a dozen different types of facilities. And for the last few years it's also been expanded to include water and wastewater facilities. So we're just going to focus on that bit of it.
Energy Star Program Web Link
It's a free online tool offered by our Energy Star program and this is the web link you can use to get to it. I do believe all of these slides will be accessible after the presentation so you will be able to have these as clickable links. So I'll mention a number of links throughout this presentation and you should be able to at some point go through and click on them so you don't have to write anything down.
And the tool itself is fairly straightforward. It's designed to give you about a 30,000 foot view. And it's designed as a benchmarking tool. Essentially you put in some information about your facility and we give you some information back. It's numbers in, numbers out.
Portfolio Manager Example
If you're a wastewater treatment facility between an average daily flow of 600,000 gallons per day and 150 million gallons per day, it will give you a rating from 1 to 100. If you are a drinking water facility or smaller wastewater treatment facility you will not get that rating but you will be able to use all of the other features of the tool and that includes tracking energy use over time, looking for trends up or down, one click greenhouse gas emissions, calculating your total energy expenditures. And a number of other features that are very useful to everyone. And so we won't focus too much on the details. I just wanted to give you a quick screen shot of what the tool looks like. If you're a new user it usually takes you about an hour to an hour and a half the first time you do this. Once you've got some experience with the tool, you can get in and out of the tool very, very quickly. Essentially you upload some information about your flow and all of your energy use whether that's electricity, oil, natural gas and we give you back two numbers in this case. One of the numbers is just energy per flow, which is a simple measurement. It's not objective or not subjective, it's objective. It's just saying you're six feet tall. It is something like that. And that is the part that's in the larger circle there, the energy per flow. What we do is add up all of the energy that you use in different sources such as electricity, gas or oil and convert them to one common unit. And then put that through this calculator.
The other number which, again, is only for wastewater treatment facilities between .6MGD and 150MGD is a rating from 1 to 100. And each rating point indicates that you are at performance level equal to similar plants. So the top plant there has a rating of 85 and that would indicate that this plant is using less energy than 85% of peer plants which would be plants of a similar treatment process, similar size, and have similar heating and cooling loads based on the weather and their zip code.
Portfolio Manager Example
The next slide here is something that this tool does very well. It calculates your energy related greenhouse gas emissions, both from electricity based on your zip code; we go to your portion of the electric grid and pull your electricity related emissions. And also based on any fuel, oil, natural gas, wood or anything else you might burn. If you're buying carbon offsets or you have a solar panel on the site or a windmill, it will also take into account those things for carbon. And so many of the people who use this tool find the one click greenhouse gas emissions to be very worthwhile for them. There are more and more people in the municipal world who are being asked to do greenhouse gas emissions calculations and this is way to do it kind of quickly and easily and it's got the imprimatur of EPA behind it so you can rest assured that the numbers are at least defensible. It is a complete greenhouse gas emissions calculator, of course. It doesn't look at things like energy used in the construction of your facility or energy used in driving biosolids to another location.
Energy Use per Flow vs. Facility Size Graphs
What the tool does for its rating is we look at where you might fall and compare you to an average. And an average would be a score of 50 which means that you're using less energy per flow than 50% of plants and more energy per flow than the other 50%. If you fall above that average we would say that you would get a lower score and if you are using less energy than average you would get a higher score. And we do what is called normalization where we adjust the average based on what you tell us about your facility. So if you are a smaller facility and a zip code that has very cold weather and you are doing nutrient removal we're not going to compare you to a large facility that doesn't do nutrient removals somewhere in the south where it's warmer. It's also especially useful for people who manage multiple facilities. It can work just fine if you only have one facility. But if you are, say, a consultant who works with many different facilities. If you work for a state agency where you work with a lot of facilities or you are somebody like New York City DEP where you have fourteen facilities in one agency. This is a really great way for you to quickly compare multiple facilities to each other and see which ones are using the most energy and maybe most energy per flow so you can focus your efforts on the least efficient ones first.
Quarterly Portfolio Manager Webinars Web Address
We do frequent trainings on this online at this web address. There is one coming up in two weeks from today and I will be teaching that training. And we do them every three months so you have lots of chances to get acquainted with the tool, more in depth than this survey level. And that is all we have on portfolio manager.
EPA's Energy Use Assessment Tool
Now based on the reactions of portfolio manager from the water and wastewater community especially the smaller drinking water plants, people wanted something a little more in depth than the kind of 30,000 foot level. And so the Office of Water has been working on something called an Energy Use Assessment Tool. And this is it's very similar to portfolio manager in a lot of ways but it gets a little more in depth. And the idea is that you might use this before you do a full scale energy audit and we're going to talk much more about energy audits later on in this presentation.
EPA's Energy Use Assessment Tool
And so the big difference is it will let you drill down to an equipment level, which the portfolio manager tool doesn't do. So you might want to use portfolio manager some of the time or this tool other times or you might just decide to use this tool if you're willing to the extra work. Of course, because it gives you more information, it does require more work on your part. One of the areas you'll have to do is go around and figure out what the energy draw of all your lighting fixtures and HVAC equipment is. You also have to go around and catalog all of your pump and motor name plate data and stuff like that which is more work up front but gives you, of course, with more work in you get more value out and gives you more detail about your process.
EPA Energy Use Assessment Tool for Wastewater Systems Spreadsheet
This is a screen shot of what it looks like. Unlike portfolio manager, this one is spreadsheet based so it is something you download and fill out on your desktop. And it produces printable reports that look like this which are designed for you to share with your management.
So when you're talking about energy, you can say 65% of our electric bill is going to our aeration equipment in this facility and so that's why we want to focus on our aeration equipment instead of light bulbs, that kind of thing.
Current Status of the Tool
Right now the tool exists, it has been beta tested and they've got some feedback and they're working on a user's guide. They're actively looking for pilots. And so if you're a facility that's curious about this tool and wants to try it out, we would encourage you to send in email to email@example.com and see if you qualify for the pilot. I think they're accepting pretty much anyone right now but I am not sure what the criteria are and how many people they need. So if you're interested in trying out a new tool before it gets advanced out to the general public, now is your chance. They expect once they get through this last round of testing and have done the pilot that we'll start to see a widespread rollout of this in a few months in the spring. So keep an eye out if you're not interested in being pilot tester. Keep an eye out for the announcement of this tool in a few months.
EPA Energy Management Planning SelfAssessment Worksheet
The last thing I wanted to mention is a very quick selfassessment worksheet. We call this a radar draft. This was developed by one of our contractors, the contractor who wrote the bulk of that workbook that Jim mentioned earlier. The Insuring the Sustainable Future Guidebook and it's a spreadsheet based tool. It is not posted anywhere online right now. I do hope to get that up at some point but for now the easiest way to get it is to email me and I can reply back, it's a very small spreadsheet. And it is a tool you can use very, very quickly. It doesn't require you to gather any data at all.
What you do is you answer three questions each about ten areas that relate to energy management. This is very much a management based tool. Very much in line with our PlanDoCheckAct philosophy. And the idea is that you would use this periodically. We have used this tool with groups of facilities that we've worked with over the course of say a year.
Before & After Roundtables: Town A
We might have a roundtable where we work with the same facilities; we meet with them multiple times. We have those facilities fill this out each time they meet with us and so we can track their progress over time. And what you do as you answer these 30 questions in these ten areas, it calculates a score for you in each of those areas. And if you do it in a spreadsheet it automatically generates one of these radar graphs. And the point of a radar graph is it quickly points out to you the areas where you're doing very well and areas where you might want to spend more time focusing. And it also helps you see your progress over time which can be very useful; it's very easy to forget sometimes how far you've actually come. So in this instance, here is a town that we worked with for a year. When we started working with them, they felt they had done some stuff on measurement and they knew a little bit about PlanDoCheckAct but they hadn't done a lot of other things. And after a year you can see that that circle has expanded and they are doing a lot of stuff in a lot of areas.
One thing they hadn't done was look at energy policy work. So this tool suggests very quickly to them that you've done great work in a lot of other areas and now the next area you'd want to focus on is your energy policy area. And so that's all the tool is. You can do this in 10 or 15 minutes and we found that a lot of people really do get some significant value from this tool. And again, you just send me an e mail and I'll reply back with the tool. And that's it for our EPA selfassessment tools.
NonEPA Energy SelfAssessment Tools
Next, we want to talk about four or five different selfassessment tools from different agencies and organizations that we partner with.
NYSERDA Water Energy Program
The first one we want to talk about is from NYSERDA. NYSERDA is the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency and NYSERDA does both research and development but they also, in New York, administer energy efficiency funds. So they're a funding agency as well as research and development agency. They're very well known in the energy efficiency world. They have done great work for years and they have a program area focused just at the water and wastewater industry. They've put out a number of things that are worth talking about in depth. Unfortunately, we don't have the time a talk about all of them on this phone call. But I would encourage you to go to water.nyserda.org and really take a look at what they have to offer. Even though you might not live or work in New York State the stuff they have there is applicable to anybody in the municipal water and wastewater field. It's really valuable stuff and we're very happy they've gone to the trouble to provide it. We're just going to focus on two on their offerings right now.
NYSERDA Energy Benchmarking Tools
The first one is a benchmarking tool and this is sort of an alternative to portfolio manager. And you don't necessarily need to use both of them. It's something that you could use instead of portfolio manager.
NYSERDA Energy Benchmarking Tool
It's again, spreadsheet based. And some people find it a little bit easier to use. It doesn't give you all of the same features. It doesn't give you greenhouse gas emissions for instance, stuff like that. It gives you output in a different format and looks like this. But it is out there. I wanted to let people know they do have alternatives. I think we, of course, have Portfolio Manager and actively develop it and we would like to promote that. But if you're in New York State and you want to use their alternative we wanted to let you know it exists.
NYSERDA SelfAudit Checklists
Another tool they have which we have found to be very, very helpful are two selfaudit checklists. And these are designed really for the small water and wastewater facilities and one of the checklists is for water and the other one is specific to wastewater. And they're very simple yes or no questions that you go through and answer. I have used them on my plant walkthroughs with a number of facilities. And I found them to be very, very helpful.
So this is an example of what they look like. Each one is an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper printed on two sides so there is not much to them. And you just walk around the plant and answer yes or no questions. The idea is if you tick off a box in the shaded area that is an area that might benefit from looking at efficiency. So if you have a certain type of pumping, they might say well you know there's probably an opportunity for you to do a more in depth look at some kind of efficiency operation. And they also if you add up all of the areas that you've ticked off in the gray areas, if you have a significant number of them, you might say well there's a big opportunity in this facility for efficiency. Where if you only have two or three you might say you're doing a pretty good job. So it's a way for you to look at it like that.
CEE SelfAudit Checklists
So based on that, there's another organization called the Consortium for Energy Efficiency. And they took those NYSERDA checklists and made a slightly different version of them. We think the NYSERDA ones are pretty good and we also think the CEE ones are pretty good. The CEE are not available directly from CEE. The Consortium for Energy Efficiency as the name suggests works with efficiency organizations behind the scenes so they work with people like NYSERDA or Efficiency Vermont or National Grid or Con Ed. And they help them coordinate their programs. And so they have through some of their partners, Efficiency Vermont is one partner, a different version than you might see. And so if you live in Vermont, you might go to the Efficiency Vermont webpage and get a very similar checklist from them. And so we just wanted to let people know that both versions of this checklist are out there just to really avoid any confusion. Either version whether you use the NYSERDA version or whether you use a version that is branded by your local efficiency agency will work great. What we really want to do is make sure you use something.
Finally or next to last, we want to mention an organization called, WERF, which is the Water Environment Research Foundation. And this tool is CHEApet. It is Carbon Heat Energy Analysis Plan Evaluation Tool. This is another webbased tool. It gives you a plantwide energy model. It's a very powerful tool but you do have to be a WERF member which is a paid subscription annually to use this tool. So there are a few hundred water or wastewater utilities around the country that do pay to be WERF members. And if your agency is one of those members we would really encourage you to take a look at this WERF tool.
Mass Energy Insight
And the last thing we want to mention to you in terms of these is the Mass Energy Insight Tool. This is a tool that is specific to Massachusetts. And what they did in Massachusetts was passed a law that said for all government facilities, the energy providers had to upload their energy data into a giant database which the state contractors administer so that you don't have to run around getting your electric bills and getting your gas bills and doing a lot of data entry to use benchmarking software. It's very, very powerful software. You do have to be working for a public entity to use it. You have to get authorization to use it, and there's a training program that goes along with it. But once you've done that, it's really worth doing. It does interface with our portfolio manager software so you don't have to decide which one you're going to use. It can do both for you. So if you are working for a water or wastewater agency in Massachusetts, we would really recommend you go to that link and find out more.
So that concludes the first phase of our presentation. This is a good time for us to stop and take one or two questions before we get into the energy audit section. And so Beth do we have any questions I need to answer?
Yes, Jason, this is Jim Horne. We do have some questions I would like pose to you here. I think we have got time to address most of these. Two of the questions kind of get to the same I guess to the same issue as follows. Will wastewater treatment plants be eligible for an energy star label if they score high enough on the benchmarking tool?
As of right now, the wastewater treatment plants are not unfortunately eligible. I believe that at one point we had planned on that but for right now, that actually labeling part portion of the tool is on indefinite hold. So unfortunately we can't give permission in that sense at this time.
Okay, that's as I understood it as well.
A second question here. How does portfolio manager account for energy recovery onsite say methane from biodigesters used for heating or electric generation?
So the question is specific to energy recovery from the methane digesters. Right now the tool doesn't really have a specific way to do it. What the tool designers said was that if you're doing that, you should get credit for it and essentially you just don't enter that energy. And it doesn't really give you quite as accurate a picture if you do it that way because it doesn't tell you the total energy you're using but you will get a higher score. So if you're interested in seeing how you score, you won't be penalized for using that energy. And so you will have a score that looks higher. If you're interested in actually how efficient is your plant and you're measuring the electricity that you generate, we would encourage you to add that as a separate meter. It would give you a lower score and that lower score would be somewhat inaccurate. It's kind of a compromise method that they had to do because there really just aren't that many facilities doing combined heat and power from biogas and to really make it fair for everyone would require a lot more work than the number of facilities eligible to use it would justify.
Okay, thank you. I think we've addressed most of the questions that we've got here or just about all of them. I would just like to make one comment about this section that Jason has just done such a great job of summarizing. And maybe it's obvious but I'll say it again. How important this whole notion of doing some sort of energy assessment, it's really critical. It is probably the most critical step any type of utility or any utility of any size can take to really move down the role of looking at ways to use energy more efficiently. And we've Jason has given us a very good summary of a number of tools, the message that I would send is pick one that you think works best for you and use it. It's really amazing to me that over the last few years the choices that are now available to utilities, and I think that's a great thing. So if you haven't gone through and used any of these, please do so.
One more minor point on the energy assessment tool that Jason talked about. Not portfolio management, the one that's coming out for smaller, mediumsized utilities. You can click on that same link and just go ahead and use the tool if you would like to even though you don't care to be involved in sort of the piloting. So it is available for people to use just by going to that link that was on the slide that Jason summarized. So that was really an excellent summary, Jason. We appreciate that very much.
Poll Question 1
We're going to take a couple minutes here to go through some poll questions, which we're about to push out to you right now. So what I would like to do is just read each question and also remind you of the choices for the questions. There are only a couple, but if you could take a minute or two and respond to those before we go on to our next part of the presentation, we'd appreciate it.
So the first question is how many people are participating at your location today? And the choices are just me, 2ס people, 6㪢 people, 10㪬 people or more than 20. So if you could just take a second and respond to that, that would help us greatly.
Poll Question 2
The second question is which of the below best describes your agency? Choice number one is wastewater or drinking water utility. Second is a municipality. Third, state regulatory office. Next, federal regulatory office. Next, environmental organization and consultant or other. So if you could just take a second to look at that one as well. That will give us some good information kind of profiling today's audience. Just take a few seconds to do that before we move on to our next part of the presentation.
Okay, I'm advised it's time to move on so we will move on. Thank you very much.
Our next speaker is Eric Byous from EPA's Region 9 who is going to take us through another really, really important part of the whole energy management cycle and that has to do with energy audits. So Eric, again, thanks for joining us today and take it away.
I believe Jason was covering that section and I will be starting with section three.
Okay, my mistake, excuse me. So Jason, back to you again to cover this next section before we get into a little more detail.
Section 2: Energy Audits
Okay, thanks, Jim. So this is the second half of the presentation. This is about energy audits. You've all had time to read the slide so I won't read it back to you. We developed this section because there is even inside the agency and even inside energy efficiency organizations, a lot of confusion over what exactly an energy audit is. And how much it should cost and who should get one. And so that's what this is for is to try to cut through some of those questions that people have. The short answer, of course, is that we would encourage everyone to get an energy audit but we'll go through just exactly what we mean when we say that.
Photo of Energy Audit
So what is an energy audit? This is when you get somebody else who is an expert in energy to come and look at your facility and do a really in depth look, and this is an actual picture from an actual energy audit in progress, flashlights and poking around in the dusty cobwebby corners and all of that stuff. The term audit sometimes turns people off. It's the term that the industry uses. And don't be scared, it's not like the IRS coming to cost you money. This is something that you invite somebody into your facility and they work with you and help you find opportunities to save money.
So we're going to cover just a little bit of information about the different types, how much they might cost and who might give them to you. And then at the end, we'll do some results and examples and I believe that's where Eric will jump in.
So energy audits in the term that most people use them for are very often driven towards two areas. They look for areas of capital improvements. For example, switching out a motor or changing to a new blower technology. And they sometimes will look for areas of operational improvements. For instance, they might tell you to person a pump off because it's not needed during certain times of the day, something like that. We find of course that the operational improvements can result in real benefits with very little cost. So that's what we are really after is those. And one thing we do like to point out especially as many plants are going through upgrades right now or a hand full of new plants are being built in the country but we are at a point where many plants are doing upgrades for various reasons. You can do an audit on a plant design and you may find opportunities to save significant money and, of course, if you do it before the equipment is built, it's much more cost effective than going in there and changing equipment after it's built. And some people stretch the term of an energy audit to include renewable energy opportunities, and we'll talk a little bit more about that. But by and large most energy auditing is really about efficiency.
Types of Energy Audits – DEMAND vs SUPPLY
So here, again, is more on the demand versus supply side. A demand audit would be reducing how much you use. That would be an efficiency audit. There's an organization known as ASHRAE which is an energy electrical engineering organization. And they've lumped audits into three different tiers, levels 1, 2, and 3. We try to stick with that terminology but we also find that people have many, many different names for the different tiers and so some of the other names we'll work in throughout.
But level 1 is essentially a walkthrough. It might be something as simple as the checklist that we referred to earlier or it could be a walkthrough with an expert helping you out.
A level 2 would be something more detailed where they start doing a lot more research. And a level 3 would be what we call also a process audit. Sometimes you'll hear it called an investment grade audit. That's an audit that really gets in there and spends a lot of time really investigating how your plant works and if there's anything you can do to change how it works, not just looking at equipment.
And as far as supply side, that's changing where you get your electricity from. And that would be renewed energy assessments. And they range from a simple discussion, talking about hey we think it's really windy here, maybe there's room for a wind turbine or we have some methane that we are flaring, maybe we have an opportunity for a combined heat and power project. All the way up to a full blown six figure feasibility study. We're not going to focus as much on the renewable energy stuff in this webcast but it is out there and some auditors will provide some of those services.
EPA Goals: Address both Demand & Supply
So our goals, of course, are to get you to address both demand and supply. We think that the best thing is always to look at efficiency first. But then once you've done that, we do want you to look at renewable energy after that. We'd like every facility, if we could convince them to do something more than a simple walkthrough, but if a simple walkthrough is all that you're able to do, then we want you to do that.
The higher level audits, level 2 and level 3 audits are generally not free. They are sometimes subsidized but we do find that they have very fast paybacks in general. And we would also like all facilities to at least sit down and talk either amongst the staff or with somebody else about what renewable energy options might be possible and if you identify a couple of promising alternatives to maybe sit down and do some simple free desktop analysis software, that can tell you if it's worth pursuing.
And then once you've done that going back to our PlanDoCheckAct management philosophy. We want you to develop and action list not just cherry pick projects but to really sit down and develop a plan that will help you figure out which projects to do, in what order and how you're going to fund them and so on.
Other names/types of audits
So there are again lots and lots of different names for these audits we talked about. Some of the common things that we talked about that don't necessarily fall into the level 1, 2 or 3 category would be an evaluation of existing power consumption. You might see it called a utility bill analysis. We often see HVAC analyses which are pretty important in this sector but are not necessarily the main energy user. We'll see electrical system audits that just focus on the electricity side but don't look at the HVAC side. And then of course the full blown level 3 process audits where they look at the whole package.
The Auditor's Toolkit
Auditors will come in and look at using a wide variety of software tools, trying to figure out a good analysis of your facility. Of course, no one auditor uses all these tools but these are the different tools that out there. They will sometimes use tools like an infrared thermometer or an infrared camera or they might clamp a small device onto a piece of equipment and leave it there to gather data about the energy use of that device.
Important Terms in UtilityFunded Audits
And then in terms of funding for audits, we like to talk about utilities. In our industry, we work with water and wastewater utilities, and that can be confusing because when we're talking about utility funded audits, we're talking about energy utilities. Electric or gas utilities. And so when a utility funded audit is out there, that's what we're talking about. Most of the major investorowned utilities across the country have some sort of energy efficiency fund that people pay into every month through a small charge on their bill. And then they can get that money back out from the program administrators whose job it is to go out there and promote energy efficiency projects. You really want to find out if you have a program administrator in your utility, who that person is and make good friends with him because they're the people who can help you fund projects and they're also the people that can help you fund audits. They usually like to start out with something called an identification of energy efficiency opportunities. That's the equivalent to a level 1 audit.
Audit Costs and Providers
Most PAs across the country and it will vary by your electric utility or gas utility service territory; will fund some level of audit. They usually like to split the cost with you. We found some that are friendlier and some a little less friendly but by and large we expect that you will get for a level 2 or higher audit they'll split the cost with you 50/50. They're sometimes negotiable on that and they'll usually do something for free with you along the lines of a level 1 audit.
Audits Costs and Providerscontinued
Now if you don't know who your electric utility or service energy efficiency service provider is, you can go to the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy which is at that website there and select your state. And you should find a link to it even though it's a renewable energy website they do have a lot of good information about energy efficiency there too. If you live in one of those states mentioned, those six states, you may have a state run energy efficiency person that you go to instead of going to your energy provider. And there may be a couple states that we missed off that list.
You may find that especially if you live in a place where the municipality provides the energy, that they are not paying into a program and so there is no energy efficiency program to tap for funds. And also, the Department of Energy is out there with a network called Industrial Assessment Centers, where they work with different industries to help them be more energy efficiency efficient. And many of those IACs will work with water or wastewater clients and there's a link there so you can find out where the nearest one to you is.
Audit Costs and Providerscontinued
When you go to work with your program administrator, you'll find that most of the time they have someone under contract. And those contract people are often very, very good at buildings such as office buildings or schools because that's where most of their business comes from. So you might find that you want to negotiate with your PA to get somebody who is more of a specialist in your field. If you do go with the person that they suggest that is under contract to them, you might find that there's more of a focus on lighting and HVAC. Of course those are important things but they may not necessarily really understand exactly what you're doing in your facility.
They may opt to fund a specialist for you if you make your case well enough. We've seen costs all over the place, from about $8,000 for a small facility all the way up to $50$60,000 for a large complex facility with a lot of different moving parts. And again, they'll usually split those costs with you 50/50.
Before they're willing to put any money on the table though, they want to make sure you're going to do something. The audit itself doesn't save any energy; it's what you do resulting from the audit that saves energy. So you are going to have to promise them you're going to do stuff that comes out of the audit.
In a level 3 audit or a process audit in particular, we really want people to provide an energy balance. And we will discuss and give an example of a plan energy balance a little bit farther down.
Walk Through Audit (ASHRAE Level I)
So just what's included in these different levels of audits, an ASHRAE level 1 or walkthrough audit is usually somebody coming through and doing what the name suggests and just walking around the facility with you. They may or may not have one of the check lists and they will usually give you something that results in low cost improvements. The utilities that are funding these usually have rebates for energy efficiency projects. If you're doing like a lighting or HVAC project, it's usually what's called a prescriptive rebate. It's a simple one page form that you fill out and says I want to change this many fixtures and we'll give you a rebate of $35 a fixture or $75 a motor for that size. And so those boxes are very often designed to steer you into those easy programs that already exist.
Energy Survey and Analysis (ASHRAE Level II)
If you get into the higher level surveys, the level 2 audits, it's very similar but they'll spend some more time looking at your energy bills. They'll spend a lot more time looking at the name plate efficiency of your equipment. They'll write down a lot more about the different motors you have around the plant. And so you'll get all of the stuff you got in the first audit or the first level but they'll spend a lot more time looking at the actual motors and they may make some suggestions about the VFDs or premium efficiency motor upgrades. They may also make some suggestions that maybe you can make an adjustment to your wet well levels or something like that. But again, they will still be focused on the quick payback projects and they will really be focused on capital projects because that if you're an energy efficiency provider is you really how you get judged. They want to say well I replaced this motor with a more efficient motor. That's how their performance is based.
Process Energy Audit (ASHRAE Level III)
However, if you get into the real process energy audit, the really in depth stuff, things change a little bit. You're probably going to spend at least a full day walking around the facility with your auditor. You may spend a couple days having that person onsite. They are going to take a real hard look at all of your energy bills. They very often will go through and develop pump curves and figure out where your largest pumps are in those pump curves to see if you're pumping efficiently. They may spend several weeks gathering data. They probably won't be there every day but what they'll do is put a device on your largest pieces of equipment, leave it there for a few weeks, and then come back and download all the data gathered to see is there an opportunity at that piece of equipment to do something. They are generally done by specialists. There are, around the country, a number of professional auditing firms that just do water and wastewater energy efficiency audits. And there are people who really understand how drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities work. And so they're able to make much more detailed process improvement suggestions and to really suggest operational changes that might not cost you any money at all. But will have big paybacks. So the tradeoff is to get somebody with that level of expertise and knowledge, you do have to come up with a lot more money and time up front.
Renewable Energy Assessments
Finally, with renewable energy assessments, again, they can start small and end big. Some auditors will do something, especially if the program that they're working with is sponsoring solar or wind or something like that. Or for instance, NYSERDA has a program right now to promote energy from combined heat and power. If you're in New York State there's significant money available from NYSERDA right now for that. If you got an audit from them, they might take a hard look at that in that audit. It's not, I would say, guaranteed that if you get even a level 3 audit that you will have a renewable energy assessment. It is something you would probably negotiate with the energy auditor. And you might find that they call in somebody else who is more of a specialist in that. Some states will have special programs just to look at renewable energy assessments. And so you would want to check with your local state government to see if there's a program like that that you can tap into.
Audit Results: One Size Does Not Fit All
So we want to look at audit results here. I just wanted to compare a few different audit results. These are mostly in Massachusetts. One facility in Connecticut. The first four are all wastewater. The last one is a drinking water facility.
The first facility there is Barnstable. They have been working with us for a number of years. Done some really great work. Their first audit they got was eight pages long. That's not a bad audit; it was about a level 1 audit. It was a free audit that somebody else paid for. They didn't collect all of their bills and calculate how much they had but they did find projects even on a simple walk through that they expected to see about a $32,000 annual savings on. And they only really list out projects that will pay for themselves with incentives from the energy utility in a few years. So this is not pie in the sky stuff.
The next one we want to talk about is the town of Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard. They had two audits and this is a good one to compare. They had two what we would consider level 2 audits. You can see the first one was about 56 pages, so much more in depth than what Barnstable got. It was paid for again by the same utility. They calculated out their energy cost at this facility as spending about $200,000 a year on fuel oil and electricity combined. And they found projects that would save them 8% of that which isn't so bad. $17,000 annual savings.
Edgartown did some of those projects but they said that we think there may be more and they went back to their energy utility and said can you send somebody with a little bit more experience, maybe spend some more time, and they did. And they came back out, did another audit. The utility again paid for that one. They found even more savings. They found another $25,000 of additional savings. So not all auditors are created equal and it a lot of times is based on what you request of the auditor as well.
Then of course we have the greater Lawrence Sanitary District. These guys were offered a free audit from the utility but they decided they really wanted to get something more in depth. And so they went and said let's instead of getting a free audit let's go for the full deal, get the level 3 audit. And they spent $50,000 on one of the premier energy auditors in the country. They split the cost with their energy utility. They calculated out their spending $3.3 million a year on energy. So $50,000 to assess that kind of expenditure isn't really too expensive when you think of it in percentage terms. And their auditor produced a 117 page report with an energy balance and found a number of different savings opportunities and they worked out to about one third of their total energy budget that they expect to be able to save if everything works out the way he promised. And they have implemented a number of those projects.
Finally, I wanted to focus on a drinking water facility. This was not only a level 3 audit but included a renewables assessment. I'm not sure what the total length was. I only saw the summary version. It was a little bit cheaper I think because this was a slightly smaller facility and a slightly simpler system so it didn't have as much for the auditor to go into. It was obviously a much smaller plant, $300,000 a year. But in that $300,000 a year energy budget, they found $55,000 of efficiency and they also found when they looked at renewables, that there was some significant opportunity for renewables and Connecticut has a very aggressive renewables subsidy program so they're looking at tapping into that.
Two types of audits
Here's another one from a facility that was not on that list that had two different audits. They had first a level 2 audit and then a couple years later they said you know we've done all that stuff, let's take another look and they went back and had a level 3 audit. And the auditors at the beginning, you can see on the easy stuff they both picked up on it. And then you get towards the bottom and the level 2 auditor who, again, was probably somebody who was very good at lights and HVAC and motors suggested some VFD controls on their motors. The level 3 auditor is somebody who was a real specialist in the wastewater field said that the first auditor was right, you could do that but you could also do this other thing, which is something that you wouldn't expect the person who did the level 2 audit to have any knowledge of. And so the level 3 auditor who probably charged more also came out with savings that were significantly higher. But they did involve some more work and you have to put a little bit more faith in your auditor when you get into reinstalling your aeration system and changing the way you do your DO systems.
Level II audit results
Level III (Process Audit Results
So the level 2 audits, I think we actually covered these two slides. I believe those were duplicated by accident, so we'll skip through those.
Energy Balance example
The energy balance that I mentioned before. This is what you should see from a good level 3 process audit. This is one of the most valuable things you get out of that. And it's a breakdown of where your energy is going in your facility. And here, this is focused just on the electric energy in a sample facility. And it is in a wastewater treatment facility. And one of the things we most commonly see is people say I am efficient I've changed my light bulbs. Well what this points out is that building systems are only 2% of the total energy in this facility. And so the light bulbs are great and they're necessary but they're not the whole story. There's a huge amount of energy in pumping and digestion here and also a fair amount of energy is typical in wastewater treatment facilities going into the aeration and biological system.
Recommended Cost Saving Projects
I wanted to focus on this. This is from a level 3 process audit. And this is one of my favorite slides in this presentation because it talks about both about the operational measures that you might get from a process audit where somebody is suggesting changes to how you operate your facility and then it talks about energy conservation measures which is what the industry calls things that cost money. And so in this case you had more different process changes than you did capital changes. And you also had a much higher percentage of the savings coming from things that didn't cost anything as opposed to things that did cost something. So this audit found in total $53,000 of savings for a cost of $52,000 which is great but if you really break it down about $40,000 of those savings came from just turning off things that maybe didn't need to be there, adjusting things using your existing controls, changing when you operate, certain times of year you don't have to do certain things. Reducing the use of certain items in your plant. And so that was really the bulk of the savings. And then farther on down the line to get even more, that's where they started to spend some money.
But if you go for one of the cheaper audits you might think you're saving some money on the audit but you might not turn up these operational measures that only somebody who is really a specialist in this field would turn up.
So this is I believe my next to the last slide. So we're just going to review that we really think no matter what kind of audit you do that everybody will benefit from some kind of an audit. But just because you had a walkthrough or maybe had somebody come through and look at your motors doesn't mean that you necessarily have all the information. Even if you had a really good process audit, we recommend getting one every few years. Things go back out of alignment, new pieces of equipment come in, operators come and go, and it's good to have somebody come in periodically.
We want everyone to do renewable energy assessments but we want to really put the emphasis on this presentation onto energy efficiency first. And of course, the most important thing is that in the PlanDoCheckAct part of this, audits are a planning tool. The doing is up to you guys. And so audits will point you to things you can do but we rely on you to actually get them done.
Two Tools to Help with Audits
Just before I wrap up with this section, I want to point to two tools that may be helpful to you. We worked with the Maine DEP to develop some sample audit request for proposals language. And it's a simple document. Its a few pages long, it's in Word so that you can just cut and paste into your RFP. And so that's there mostly if you want to go out and get a full process audit, a level 3 audit and know you're coming into procurement and bidding, you are going to have to put out an RFP. This is so you get the best possible audit at the lowest possible price essentially. That's not on the Maine DEP website but I can send you a copy of that and that's something a number of facilities in Maine have used.
We also wanted to point to you a guy that is online from the Electric Power Research Institute. Way back in 1994, they were looking at this and they put together a very comprehensive guide. It's available from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency. Even though it's almost 20 years old, let's be honest, not a whole lot has changed in most facilities since then. The big omission really is that this audit guide doesn't cover nutrient facilities but beyond that it does pretty good job of just looking at what an auditor should be looking at in primary and secondary treatment. And so if you want to find out what an auditor should be doing or might be doing or if you want to work with an auditor to make sure that they're doing what you want, it's a good guide for you to have and it's available for free just from that download link. And so that concludes my portion of the presentation. We'll pause here for some questions.
Okay, Jason, thank you very much. There are several questions that came in. Two or three of these I think are sort of focusing on the same type of issue. And that is, what were the associated capital costs that were necessary to achieve the annual savings?
One question says do we have any information we could share, certainly on the payback period for the projects that Barnstable, Edgartown, and Greater Lawrence? And again, this goes to the more general question about on the audit results what people are interested in knowing what are the capital improvement costs necessary to generate the energy savings that you referred to.
I don't have that information at my fingertips. If somebody wanted to send an email, I could send the actual audit reports from well I would have to check with Edgartown and Barnstable to make sure they were okay with sharing them but I do have copies of these if they permit me to share them I could put them out. But in general, most of these auditors will not put forward projects that cost many, many times their savings. They will only refer you to projects that have something maybe within a three to seven year payback. They really favor the quicker payback capital projects. And they will work with the program energy efficiency program to incorporate the rebates that might be available into that payback analysis.
Okay, at one point that I like to make is that one potential source of funding both for capital projects that result from an energy audit or even the actual auditor assessment themselves are the state revolving fund programs that EPA administers with states for both the wastewater and drinking water utilities. Those the types of activities that we've been talking about today are all allowable under those programs. There's even a requirement that states use a minimum I believe of 20% of their SRF funds each year for projects like green infrastructure or energy efficiency. So if you are looking at certainly either an audit or an assessment but certainly a capital related project that might involve more money, you should look into that potential source of funding for the capital costs that are associated with that. Of course, there are other sources of funding other than the state revolving funds' programs but as many of you know they tend to offer very favorable interest rates. And we are placing more emphasis on trying to use SRF funds to fund these types of energy efficiency activities. So think about that issue to go forward.
One final question before we move on is follows. Are there certifications, licensing, verifications, et cetera, for water facility specific auditors that we're aware of?
As far as I know there are not certifications although many auditors will get some kind of training from ASHRAE stuff like that. That's one of the reasons that we mention that the EPRAE guide is available and the RFP is available so that people can look at those resources and compare them to the auditors that they're getting.
Okay. Thanks very much for the presentation, Jason. We really appreciate it. That was a lot of information to present in a relatively short amount of time and some very good questions coming from the audience today. What I would like to do is now turn to our next presentation from Eric Byous from EPA Region 9 to talk about some sort of practical on the ground experience that the region has been encouraging with utilities out in California and other parts of that region. So Eric, I'll turn it over to you now. Thank you very much.
Section 3: Evaluation of Energy Audit Pilot Program Results in AZ, CA, HI, and NV
Great, thank you, Jim. And thank you all for hanging in there as long as you have for this webinar. I am going to review quickly through some work that we're doing out here but I want emphasize again that I'm located out in San Francisco which in our region includes California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the tribes located within those state boundaries. And we recently conducted an energy audit pilot program that we were able to fund from ARRA implementation and administration funding that came to our regions. So it was only time funding that we were able to put it into contract.
EPA Region 9's Auditing Pilot Program
What made utilities eligible to receive the funding, whether they had to have received ARRA funding for another type of water or wastewater infrastructure project because the money, the funding and resources from this project came from us rather than the states that fund the projects that they did. We ended up deciding to go with a combination level 2, 3 energy audit and we ended up selecting 15 water and wastewater utilities. And these, just to reemphasize what has been said recently that are audits were conducted by water and wastewater experts. So they were familiar with the industry and water industry as well as the energy industry.
Quickly, our draft results showed the recommendations with maximum seven and a half year payback period had potential for $1.4 million per year in cost savings with an 4.5 year payback period and this ended up being looking at it from a different perspective a 16 percent return on investment which is pretty good for a utility as far the choices they have for investments. It also resulted in 6,900 megawatt hours per year of energy reduction.
EPA Region 9's Auditing Pilot Program
And focusing in on more simple recommendations to implement. Jason just talked about in the lower level type audits that are available, 15 of our draft recommendations, I want to emphasize draft here because they're not all finalized yet, we're just finishing these up in the past few months and in the next quarter or so we'll have it tallied and officially completed. But for the 15 of the draft recommendations less than a one year payback period and had a total energy savings of $190,000 per year which is greater than 100% return on investment. Anybody would want that at any kind of investment they could possibly make so these are really highly recommended type improvements. And as has been previously mentioned, these types of improvements were mainly noncapital improvements such as rate modifications, changes in time of use, depowering equipment that hasn't been used, doesn't need to be used year round and shutting down unnecessary processes.
And what's great what was really great about these is these could likely be identified even with the selfassessments or a walkthrough audit if you just take the time to look through, you could probably find a lot of these opportunities within your own utility. And you don't necessarily need a level 2 or 3 audit to find these opportunities.
EPA Region 9's Auditing Pilot Program
As far as looking at this from an individual utilities operating cost, these are pretty great numbers here that we came up with that again the draft recommendations came, identified an average of 17% savings in the energy use and a 26% savings in energy costs. The difference between those two numbers, of course, came from changes with time of use and with rate modifications and demand charges that were reduced as a result of changing some processes around. So that's where that 9% difference accounts for.
And it's critical with this pilot program that we did not cherry pick utilities that had never received energy audits before or had never done energy management projects. We picked projects that were just available that had their ARRA project completed in time in order for us to actually conduct the audit. So we were able to I think get a fairly representative sample across 15 utilities and places that have done energy work and places that haven't done. So these numbers can be fairly representative for a wider range of utilities. And including I want to emphasize too there were no huge differences between the small and large utility results. So the big money wasn't necessarily coming from only the large utilities. The smaller utilities benefited as well.
Lessons LearnedAudit Process
This next slide here, we wanted to highlight the process that we went through to get these audits completed. And I think it's important to point this out because it's really easy to spend a lot of money on reports that you might not need or use when all is said and done. 100% of that report might not be usable but you're still spending money on it. So to avoid time and money spent of unwanted recommendations this is the process we used.
We targeted the proper level of the audit with the utility and the auditor, and then with the auditor we highly recommend that you discuss your payback period thresholds ahead of time. Most of the time there are reasonable payback periods but sometimes it could be 25 year, 30 year payback periods for some projects that are out of your scope. And you don't want to spend a lot of money reviewing those.
After the walk through, after the trip is done to actually conduct the audit, we recommend that the contractor set up send a simple draft report with a brief summary of the recommendations that they came up with. And then you're able to discuss this draft with the contractor before a lot of time and money is spent and the full report. We feel this led to a very effective final report and expensive contractor time wasn't wasted on a lot of unwanted information which can very well happen in an audit if you don't keep along with that process as it's actually being conducted.
And I want to also make sure you don't forget that the payback periods for some types of projects can be greatly reduced by rebates and grants. So don't, I wouldn't recommend using a hard and fast number but something in a range that where you were, if you got a rebate for 30%, that that project would be something that you could do within your own utility.
Renewable Energy Assessment Highlight
To switch gears slightly, I wanted to highlight renewable energy assessment that we did as part of this project. We were only able to do a handful of those. But one of them we did at a wastewater treatment plant and it found a potential savings of $650,000 per year and 4 megawatt hours of energy per year with a 5.7 year payback through the addition of a cogeneration facility because they had already had an anaerobic digester and were just flaring there biogas. With this particular project and many others in this area, there's potential for no capital costs to actually implement the project, if a power purchase agreement is used.
And I just wanted to mention, we will have a seminar coming up later in the series talking more specifically about renewable energy and renewable energy funding opportunities for the water sector. But in the meantime if you're a wastewater treatment facility that treats four to five million gallons per day and you do have a digester, and you're flaring your gas, give me a call. I'm happy to talk about some of the opportunities that may be available to you in the meantime. These projects of course are profitable and not profitable based on how much you're paying for electricity. So I will be happy to discuss that with you further with my contact information at the end of the presentation.
Section 4: Suggested Next Steps
So for the last section, a lot of information has been thrown at you. I just want to go through some suggested next steps. Highlight and review what's been talked about today. First, conduct a selfassessment including benchmarking of you utilities energy use. This is just a great critical low cost step moving towards energy management. And as Jim highlighted, once this step is taken, a lot of things can go forward from there just because it makes economic sense. But if it isn't taken then nothing can be done of course.
If it makes sense, conduct a high level audit at your facility. And then once the amount of recommendations come in, it's extremely helpful to have an energy management program established that basically pulls in your senior management, pulls in the budget folks and makes their support actually complete these projects of the audit that it isn't conducted and sit on a shelf somewhere like what often happens.
Resources for Funding Audits
And lastly, just to quickly review some of resources for funding audits. Add an energy audit on to your next capital improvement project. Just go ahead and throw on there. It's not that much more money. We're talking about multimillion dollar projects that can definitely pay for itself. Even amending the scope of an existing project that comes in under budget.
And don't forget about design audits, that they can be done for any expansion and any kind of new project that's being done at your utility. Of course, check with your energy provider and as Jason provided earlier here's the website for the DSIRE website. And don't forget about the federal and state programs that can help. On our website we will soon be posting a matrix that has a lot of the federal programs available and then also the state programs for the states out here in Region 9.
But I want to highlight again, the ones that are most relevant across the board are the state revolving fund programs. Look into the Bureau of Reclamations Water Smart Program because that could definitely fund audits. There is a match but it can definitely fund audits. And then the Department of Energy's Industrial Assessment Centers also as was mentioned earlier. Look those up. Some across the country can do it and some can't but it's worth checking into. And that was all that I had for today. I guess we can move on to the next and final round of questions.
Yes, thank you, Eric. That was great. Again, appreciate the efficiency that you were able to provide a lot of really good information. We've got really just time for a couple of other questions. And there was also just a comment made by someone here. The comment first, someone indicated that the Association of Energy Engineers has an energy auditing certification program. So whoever made that looks like someone Doug [inaudible], I guess, whoever made that comment, if you could send us that information about maybe a link to that to the information about that energy auditing certification program from the Association of Energy Engineers, we would appreciate that. I believe we can try to share that with the people that were on the webcast today.
There was another question about how actively the state SRF programs have been in actually picking sort of energy efficiency projects, we have information for both the clean water and the drinking water SRF programs. I believe from 2009 and perhaps 2010, which will give you an indication of how much of the money that Congress asked to be used for energy efficiency or green infrastructure actually went to energy efficiency. So I'll make a point to try to find that information and share it with our contractors here so they can share it with the group at large. So we do share that information. It doesn't get down to individual projects but it gives you a sense of how much of the funding the SRF funding was used for various energy efficiency activities.
I'm just checking here to see if any other questions we might be able to. Yes, there was a good question here about is there any effort spent in looking at avoided energy spending through conservation. I guess I pose that question quickly to either Eric or Jason. Do any of the auditing programs that we've been talking about here today also take a look at those types of opportunities through conservation, sort of decreasing the demand side?
This is Jason. I think I'm a little confused. Most of the audits are exactly about avoiding energy use through reducing your demand through being more efficient so.
Well what about do they offer Jason, do they offer any questions about things that could be done, you know, with the actual customer base. I guess that would be what people that currently are serviced by the utility are doing or does it focus just simply on actions that can be taken directly by the utility. I think that's the gist of the question.
I think maybe the NYSERDA program is maybe the best example, they've developed an approach to really address this industry as a whole. And I know the California Energy Commission and the state of Massachusetts are also working on that.
Okay, very good. Okay, we're getting near the end of today's webcast. I'm really pleased to see our attendance has stayed fairly high. So again, I want to thank everyone for participating today.
If we we do have a few more questions that we would like to put out to you, a few more survey questions, so if you would briefly consider responding to those or those are being pushed out or have just been pushed out to you. This will allow us to sort of get your overall assessment of the webinar today and also have us plan a little bit for the future as we decide which topics would be most appropriate to focus on. So if you could just take a minute or two to do that, we would appreciate it.
I also would say if your question wasn't answered during the webcast, as I said earlier, we have posted the speakers' contact information in case you would like to contact them after today. You can also find a copy of the slides by clicking on the downloads button at the top of your screen.
Finally, a certificate is available for each participant by clicking the certificate button at the top of your screen or by copying the link on this slide, that's slide 70 into your web browser. You can type each of the attendees' names into the certificate, and print the certificates from your computers using this link. So if you would like to do that to take advantage of that opportunity.
So once again, I would like to thank people for being on the webcast and staying with us. We're really pleased with the attendance and I would certainly like to thank both Jason and Eric today for excellent presentations providing a lot of information that we hope that you can use. Again, as I said at the beginning, this is probably the most critical step that any utility could take as they move toward more effective energy management. We encourage you to take, to really do an assessment and hopefully translate that into doing an audit. More and more opportunities I think are becoming available; certainly to do the auditing piece which as Jason indicated often costs some money. But it is a really powerful sort of payback mechanism and we encourage you to take advantage of it.
So once again, thank you very much. We'll have three additional webcasts over the next several months and we look forward to having you participate in those as well.