A panel of national experts on energy and water efficiency has developed a blueprint for realizing the substantial economic and environmental benefits to the nation from a combined approach towards more efficient water and energy systems. These experts were jointly convened by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), leading national research institutes focused respectively on energy and water efficiency, to address opportunities that could result from exploring the connections between energy and water. The outcome of this joint process, A Blueprint for Action and Policy Agenda, was released today.
“With the publication of this blueprint, the water and energy efficiency communities are committing to work together to achieve the substantial economic and environmental benefits that can result from increased efficiency,” said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE.
As much as a fifth of the nation’s electricity goes toward sourcing, moving, treating, heating, collecting, re-treating, and disposing of potable water. Estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey suggest as much as 50% of the nation’s water goes toward producing thermoelectric electricity. The blueprint outlines eight action steps that could lead to future economic opportunities and environmental benefits through using energy and water more efficiently. Some of the action steps include: collaborative programs and research, replicating best practices, improving revenue and pricing structures, codes and standards, and education of multiple audiences. The blueprint strives to learn from the experiences of both the energy and water communities, building on existing policies, programs, and relationships. The blueprint also contains a policy agenda describing the opportunities available for policymakers at every level of government.
“In simple terms, every drop of water saved, saves energy, and every kilowatt of electricity saved, saves water,” said Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of AWE. “The nexus between energy and water has not received the national research and policy attention that it deserves. With this blueprint, we have brought together voices from both the energy and the water communities to outline what now needs to be done.”
Future combined efforts will focus on research, policy, codes and standards, and programs that realize the efficiency benefits of looking at water and energy efficiency holistically. The blueprint lays out paths for progress in each of those areas, providing a concrete challenge to funders, researchers, and program implementers to take the steps necessary to realize the opportunities from collaboration. The joint policy agenda identifies ways the energy and water communities plan to work together as they approach policymakers.
The blueprint and policy agenda resulted from a joint ACEEE–AWE day-long workshop that brought together over fifty thought-leaders from across the energy and water efficiency communities. This document summarizes the ideas generated and priorities identified through the workshop process.
To see the blueprint, click here.