Energy and water resources have long been recognized as interdependent, but policymakers have rarely addressed their interaction in any formal way. The energy-water nexus has increasingly attracted the attention of researchers and practitioners. Their goal is to better understand how water is used to produce energy and generate electricity; how energy is used to move, heat, and treat water; and how policies can successfully address the technical challenges of efficiently managing these resources together.
Since 2005 ACEEE has been engaging leaders in the energy-water field to raise awareness of the energy intensity of water and wastewater services and the research opportunities for strengthening coordination between energy and water programs. Past research has demonstrated that closer coordination has the potential to unlock new levels of energy savings through saving water, and vice versa. This fall, ACEEE is examining new and existing efforts by utilities and program administrators to implement programs that address water and energy together. We are requesting your participation in a brief survey to learn more about current water-energy utility programs in your area.
Past research on exemplary programs and new efforts
We have collaborated with the Alliance for Water Efficiency to highlight exemplary programs that promote collaboration among energy and water utilities to improve efficiency. Our research identified a limited but promising patchwork of these programs that included innovative energy performance contract design in Boulder, Colorado, synergistic water-energy sustainability efforts in Massachusetts, and crosscutting water and energy incentive programs for multifamily buildings in Austin, Texas. The analysis also identified a variety of challenges and areas for additional research. However opportunities remain to identify best practices for successful collaboration among water, electric, and natural gas utilities. And embedded energy savings from water efficiency still needs to be identified and measured to reach savings goals.
In an update to our 2013 research, we are revisiting these challenges and confronting them head-on. We will conduct an analysis of recent trends in this rapidly emerging field. Our research will document successful policy examples, best practices, and lessons learned by energy utilities designing programs. We will also look at evaluation methodologies that track both energy and water savings. We will focus on utility-led energy efficiency programs, the types of policies and guidance currently driving leading efforts, and the factors influencing their success.
Help us by taking our survey
Are you running a program focused on both energy usage and water? Do you know of a great example? Please take our survey to help us highlight electric or natural gas utility efficiency programs in your area that track energy and water savings achieved from energy efficiency programs, including programs administered jointly between energy and water utilities. Your feedback will help us better understand recent advances and opportunities in the field and highlight achievements and best practices from successful programs.
Please submit your survey response by Monday, October 16 with any information or feedback you might have or feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!