DOE's Better Plants Program expands to help water agencies improve energy efficiency

As the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings, Better Plants Program has expanded this year to begin working with 12 new water and wastewater treatment agencies to improve their energy efficiency by 25 percent over 10 years.

WASHINGTON DC, Oct. 1, 2015 -- As the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) prepares to kick off October's National Energy Action Month, the department announced that manufacturers in its Better Buildings, Better Plants Program (Better Plants) have racked up an estimated $2.4 billion in cumulative energy cost savings over the last five years.

Better Plants expanded this year to begin working with 12 new water and wastewater treatment agencies to improve their energy efficiency by 25 percent over 10 years, or an equally ambitious level for their sector. This industry faces high energy costs, as significant amounts of energy are required to pump, treat and distribute water. Included among the dozen partners are two of the nation's largest and most complex water systems -- those servicing the cities of Los Angeles and New York.

The department also announced that over the last year, 21 new industrial partners joined the Better Plants program, and nine partners have met their energy-efficiency targets. Close to 160 industrial organizations representing more than 2,400 facilities are partnering with the Energy Department through Better Plants. Together, they consume about 2.2 quadrillion BTUs of energy, which is approximately 11.4 percent of the U.S. manufacturing sector's total use.

"When companies save energy, they also save money and reduce harmful carbon pollution," said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. "This is especially true in the manufacturing sector, where energy costs are often a significant contributor to total operating costs. Manufacturers participating in the Better Plants program, including our new partners in the water and wastewater treatment sector, are leading the way in showing how energy efficiency is a smart business strategy, as well as a smart conservation strategy that will help to protect our environment for future generations."

Over the last five years, Better Plants partners have maintained an average annual energy intensity improvement rate of about 2.1 percent, well above projected business-as-usual rates for U.S. industry as a whole. This has resulted in cumulative energy savings of more than 450 trillion BTUs, saving an estimated $2.4 billion in cost and avoiding nearly 27 million metric tons of climate-changing carbon emissions, equivalent to a year’s worth of emissions from seven coal-fired power plants.

See also:

"The Missing Link: Increasing Public Awareness of the Interconnectedness of Water and Energy"

"Grant Project Helps Central Basin Reduce Water, Energy Footprint"

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