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Sustainable Water Infrastructure Contacts

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Water & Energy Efficiency by Sectors

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Additional Resources
  • Alliance for Water Efficiency’s Exiting EPA (disclaimer) Resource Library strives to provide the best on-line resources on water conservation and efficiency.
  • People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc. Water Footprinting Exiting EPA (disclaimer) looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.
  • Food Service Technology Center Exiting EPA (disclaimer) is the industry leader in commercial kitchen energy efficiency and appliance performance testing.
  • Savings by Design Exiting EPA (disclaimer) offers services and incentives to help these California decision makers raise energy performance to a top priority.
  • The WaterSmart Guidebook: A Water Use Efficiency Plan and Review Guide for New Businesses provides information on water-saving technologies applicable in the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors and is intended for use as a resource by: existing and new businesses, developers, consultants, and designers planning agencies; and water providers.
  • The Pacific Institute's Water Scarcity and Climate Change: Growing Risks for Businesses and Investors identifies water-related risks specific to eight key industries, including electric power, high-tech, beverage, agriculture, apparel, biotechnology/ pharmaceutical, forest products, and metals/mining firms.

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What Is Industrial Water Use?

According to the United States Geological Survey’s Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2000, about 5% of our nation’s available water was withdrawn by industry. Industries like oil refineries, semiconductors manufacturers, and facilities that process fruits, vegetables and meat require large amounts of water to provide us valuable social goods like gasoline, computers and food.

Industry uses water for landscaping, cooling, and laundry, in kitchens and restrooms, and for over all processing needs, like fabricating, diluting, incorporating water into a product, and/or for sanitation needs within the facility. According to the Pacific Institute’s Waste Not, Want Not: The Potential for Urban Water Conservation in California, Exiting EPA (disclaimer) the majority of water used by a facility is often used for processing, although cooling—most notably for oil refineries, high tech, and food processing facilities—also consumes a lot of water.

How Can Water and Energy Be Used More Efficiently?

Saving energy saves water. EPA’s EnergyStar program offers a proven strategy for superior energy management with tools and resources to help each step of the way

STEP 1: Make Commitment

STEP 2: Assess Performance

STEP 3: Set Goals

STEP 4: Create Action Plan

STEP 5: Implement Action Plan

STEP 6: Evaluate Progress

STEP 7: Recognize Achievements

energy saving flow chart

The Department of Energy also provides ample information (directed at industry plant managers and engineers) on how to boost the bottom line.

Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is an efficient, clean, and reliable approach to generating power and thermal energy from a single fuel source. By installing a CHP system designed to meet the thermal and electrical base loads of a facility, CHP can greatly increase the facility's operational efficiency and decrease energy costs.

Renewable energy options—like solar, geothermal, and wind—use negligible amounts of water compared to conventional sources of energy (e.g. coal and nuclear); investing in renewables invests in water conservation! EPA’s Green Power Partnership supports the organizational procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources.

Does your facility need to heat water? Solar process-heating systems are designed to meet the need for large quantities of hot water or space heating at commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.

Also known as a water survey, a water audit is an excellent way to understand your current water use and future water savings. Generally, a water audit provides a detailed description of your facility’s water use, identifies potential water and financial savings, and recommends various water efficiency upgrades. Your local water district or public utility may provide you with a free water audit. If not, you can hire a consultant to conduct a water audit. Additionally, the WBCSD’s Global Water Tool Exiting EPA (disclaimer) is a free and easy-to-use tool for companies and organizations to map their water use and assess risks relative to their operations and supply chains.

Products that meet WaterSense criteria for water efficiency and performance carry a special label. When you use products bearing the WaterSense label in your kitchens, bathrooms and landscape, you can expect exceptional performance, savings on your water bills, and assurance that you are saving water for future generations. You can also save water by hiring certified water efficiency professionals, like WaterSense landscape irrigation professionals, Green Plumbers, Exiting EPA (disclaimer) and rainwater catchment professionals. Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

The EPA’s Green Infrastructure program has compiled information about various technologies & approaches, research, models & calculators, and case studies. You can save water and energy as well as improve water quality with green infrastructure.

Implementing an EMS is a major way your facility can be run more sustainably. Need help? The EPA’s Sector Strategies Program achieves performance improvement and burden reduction in 13 sectors by addressing their unique issues and challenges in a collaborative setting. Climate Leaders is an EPA industry-government partnership that works with companies to develop comprehensive climate change strategies.

Water Reuse, or water recycling, may offer your facility a tremendous water saving opportunity. EPA’s 2012 Guidelines for Water Reuse (PDF) (28pp, 372K) examines opportunities for substituting reclaimed water for potable water supplies where potable water quality is not required; it presents and summarizes recommended water reuse guidelines, along with supporting information.

Are you using water and energy efficiently? ENERGY STAR’s Partner of the Year Awards recognize partners’ special achievements in transforming their markets to ENERGY STAR. EPA presents these awards at the annual ENERGY STAR Awards banquet and reception in Washington D.C.

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Case Studies

Food Processing Case Studies
  • The Queensland Government’s Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a number of food processing case studies demonstrating how the meat and aquaculture industry can save money by saving water and energy.
  • To “make more beer with less water,” Coors-Miller’s (PDF) (26 pp, 3.0, Large File) has developed a water management strategy that focuses on four key areas: 1) Water usage and Efficiency, 2) Wastewater quality and management, 3) Supplier relationships, and 4) Community relationships.
  • The Wine Institute’s Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy Exiting EPA (disclaimer) provides a set of tools for wineries of all sizes to use in realigning existing facilities or designing new facilities to achieve goals for sustainable management of winery source water and wastewater, with and ancillary benefits of increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas generation.
  • From installing rainwater catchment and solar water heaters on farms to using water more efficiently at their dairy processing facilities, Dean Foods (PDF) (8 pp, 1.5M) is reducing water up and down their supply chain.
  • The Fabiano Brothers’ 191,000–square-foot distribution center features an innovative water reclamation system in its truck-washing facility. By using the system, a SoBrite Filtermatic 3B, employees are able to reuse the water they spend to wash the distribution center’s fleet of beer trucks, minivans, and other vehicles.

If you would like to suggest or provide additional resources, please contact Charlotte Ely (Ely.Charlotte@epa.gov).

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