Turning Down the Power

by David J. Reardon, Sr. Vice Pres.; HDR Engineering, El Dorado Hills,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 8, Pg. 54-56

Document Type: Feature article


Traditionally, utilities have responded to demands for more power by simply increasing the energy supply. But this results in higher costs for both the supplier (in the form permitting, planning and construction of new powerplants) and the user (in the form of higher energy bills). A more cost-efficient way to manage energy resources may be through a strategy known as demand-side management. One technique of demand-side management is the energy audit. During an energy audit, the user is shown how it can streamline its operations to cut energy costs. A prime candidate for the energy audit is the wastewater treatment plant--the major customer for many of the nation's smaller utilities. This article describes the steps that go into energy audits at wastewater treatment plants. Steps include creating the audit team (either with outside consultants, inhouse staff from both the utility and the treatment plant, or a combination), evaluating usage schedules, conducting field investigations, evaluating all equipment, identifying energy-conservation measures and implementing subsequent retrofits.

Subject Headings: Audits | Wastewater treatment plants | Utilities | Power plants | Field tests | Benefit cost ratios | Wastewater treatment

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