Energy Efficiency Strategies for Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facilities

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Water and wastewater systems are significant energy consumers with an estimated 3%-4% of total U.S. electricity consumption used for the movement and treatment of water and wastewater. Water-energy issues are of growing importance in the context of water shortages, higher energy and material costs, and a changing climate. In this economic environment, it is in the best interest for utilities tofind efficiencies, both in water and energy use. Performing energy audits at water and wastewater treatment facilities is one way community energy managers can identify opportunities to save money, energy, and water. In this paper the importance of energy use in wastewater facilities is illustrated by a case study of a process energy audit performed for Crested Butte, Colorado's wastewater treatment plant. The energy audit identified opportunities for significant energy savings by looking at power intensive unit processes such as influent pumping, aeration, ultraviolet disinfection, and solids handling. This case study presents best practices that can be readily adopted by facility managers in their pursuit of energy and financial savings in water and wastewater treatment. This paper is intended to improve community energy managers' understanding of the role that the water and wastewater sector plays in a community's total energy consumption. The energy efficiency strategies described provide information on energy savings opportunities, which can be used as a basis for discussing energy management goals with water and wastewater treatment facility managers.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2012

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-7A20-53341


  • aeration
  • energy audits
  • energy savings
  • influent pumping
  • solids handling
  • ultraviolet disinfection
  • wastewater
  • wastewater facilities
  • wastewater treatment


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