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Programs that Save Water and Energy

March 7, 2013 | 1 comment

Some organizations stand out for saving energy; some stand out for saving water. But the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) recently recognized five U.S. organizations for exceptional efficiency in both energy and water savings.

According to the ACEEE, programs that focus on saving water and energy are relatively new and not broadly understood. These five programs stand out as innovative, comprehensive savings programs; each organization uses a different model to successfully implement a joint water-efficiency/energy-efficiency program.

Darden Restaurants: Darden Sustainability—15 X 15

In 2009, Darden Restaurants set out to reduce per-restaurant energy and water usage by 15 percent by 2015. By 2011, the company reduced per-restaurant water usage by 17%, exceeding its water goal four years early. Per-restaurant energy use has been reduced by almost 8% so far. By 2016, Darden estimates it will have saved $28 million in water and energy costs through thermostat settings, equipment power-up schedules, low-flow faucets, green building prototypes, and energy-efficient lamps.

Southern California Edison: Leak Detection Pilot Program

Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the country’s largest investor-owned utilities, decided to fix distribution system leaks for each water utility. The goal was to pinpoint consumption, metering errors, and leakage at water agencies. Through comprehensive water audits, SCE was able to identify, fix, and manage unreported breaks and leaks. It also focuses on high-efficiency toilets, landscape irrigation, and site audits for large customers.

City of Boulder: Energy Performance Contracting Program

In June 2009, the City of Boulder partnered with the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office on an Energy Performance Contract (EPC). The EPC allowed the City of Boulder to enter into a lease purchase agreement to implement efficiency upgrades that are paid off over time using guaranteed savings from reduced energy and water bills, so the upgrades don’t cost Boulder taxpayers any additional money.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA): Long-Term Sustainability Program

Reservoir-to-tap water conservation/efficiency efforts for MWRA have avoided development of a major new water source. MWRA offers extensive outreach and educational programs, and was the first state to adopt 1.6 gpf toilets. These efforts have reduced average water system withdrawals from 340 million gallons per day in 1980 to less than 200 million gallons per day in 2012. About 45% of MWRA’s total energy cost profile is derived from renewable sources, like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. The organization has also completed energy audits to identify ways to cut energy use.

United Technologies Corporation (UTC): 2015 Sustainability Goals

UTC’s sustainability goals include targets for water and greenhouse gas reduction, and UTC sites are required to identify projects that will achieve the goals. The organization has committed to reducing water consumption by 40% and greenhouse gas emissions by 27% by 2015 compared to a 2006 baseline. As part of these goals, UTC also aims for 100% of its facilities to be quiet, clean, and tobacco-free.

Does your organization have energy-efficiency and water-efficiency programs in place, or are you focusing on just one?

1 Comment

  1. John C. Carlson
    March 8, 2013

    Vista Window Films,

    I would be very interested to learn HOW each of these companies achieved these savings. Please go back to them and find out what mechanisms they put in place.

    This would be most helpful

    John C. Carlson

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