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Improvements allow utilities to track energy use, set investment priorities and verify efficiency improvements
America's drinking water and wastewater facilities can now save energy and reduce their carbon footprint with expanded tools available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Program. Enhancements to Portfolio Manager, the agency's popular energy tracking tool for commercial facilities, allow water utilities to track energy use and associated carbon emissions, set targets for investment priorities, and verify efficiency improvements. Water and wastewater facilities are energy intensive, accounting for more than one-third of municipal energy use. Improving the energy efficiency of America's drinking water and wastewater systems by 10% would save more than 5 billion kilowatt-hours each year, representing a cost savings of about $400 million annually.
"Wasting energy is sending good resources down the drain," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water. "Energy efficiency is good for the planet as well as the plant managers who make water clean and healthy."
Drinking water and wastewater systems spend about $4 billion a year on energy to pump, treat, deliver, collect and clean water at the 52,000 community drinking water and 16,500 wastewater facilities in the U.S. Through Energy Star, EPA provides a proven energy management strategy and no-cost tools for public and private organizations to save energy and money, as well as demonstrate environmental leadership.
More than 800 organizations—including more than 150 local governments and water utilities—are leading the way toward improved energy efficiency by responding to the Energy Star Challenge, EPA's national call to action to improve the energy efficiency of America's commercial and industrial facilities by 10% or more. In June 2007, the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed the Energy Star Challenge as a key strategy in meeting the goals of the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.
Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 50 different kinds of products, new homes and commercial and industrial buildings. Products and buildings that have earned the Energy Star designation prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the government. Last year alone, Americans saved about $14 billion on their energy bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 25 million vehicles with the help of Energy Star.