July 11, 2019

Des Moines Water Works Locally and Nationally Recognized for Energy Management

Des Moines Water Works has been locally and nationally recognized for energy management, energy programs and energy training. Energy costs are a significant portion of the utility’s operational budget, so implementing an energy management program is critical.

U.S. Department of Energy Recognition
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Plants partner Des Moines Water Works for their efforts to drive organizational/cultural changes that enhance the partner’s ability to improve energy performance, including installing electric submeters and energy monitors to provide staff with real-time energy data for three water treatment plants and saving $185,000 a year in energy costs.  As part of DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative, Better Plants works with leading manufacturers and water and wastewater treatment agencies to boost their competitiveness through improvements in energy efficiency.

The annual Better Practice Awards are bestowed upon select partners for outstanding accomplishments in implementing and promoting the practices, principles, and procedures of energy management in industry. Des Moines Water Works was formally recognized at the Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit in Arlington, Virginia, on July 10, in part due to the 60 electric submeters the utility installed to measure energy data. The data is displayed on three dedicated energy monitor screens providing Des Moines Water Works operators with information they need to operate the treatment plants efficiently.

Water treatment facilities across America increasingly face aging infrastructures and rising costs.  According to the Electric Power Research Institute, U.S. water and wastewater treatment and distribution systems purchase nearly 70 billion kWh annually (about 1.8 percent of U.S. electricity consumption).  Low-cost operational changes enabled by an energy management system can sustainably reduce operating costs to enable reinvestment in infrastructure or control rates.

As part of the broader Better Buildings Initiative, Better Plants partners voluntarily set a long-term goal, typically to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent over a 10-year period across all their U.S. operations. DOE supports these efforts with technical expertise and national recognition.

“Better Plants partners such as Des Moines Water Works are implementing innovative energy efficiency solutions in the industrial space that are cutting costs and energy-use and the Better Practice Awards honor their leadership,” said Valri Lightner, DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office Acting Director.

City of Des Moines Recognition

Des Moines Water Works was awarded Energize Des Moines’ 2018 Award for Best Practices in Energy Efficiency and Employee Training.  The award was presented to Des Moines Water Works at the May 20, 2019, City Council Meeting.

Energize Des Moines is a program to reduce energy use (electric, gas, and water) in Des Moines’ largest buildings (above 25,000 square feet). The program is part of the City Energy Project initiative to create healthier and more prosperous American cities by improving the energy efficiency of buildings. In most large American cities, buildings account for most of the energy use and carbon pollution. In Des Moines, it is 35-40%.

Des Moines Water Works added Energize Des Moines to its Energy Management System in the summer of 2017. As part of the program, Des Moines Water Works agreed to upload energy and water consumption data for the utility’s administration building to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®, an online tool used to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. It is used to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings against similar buildings across the nation. In February 2018, Des Moines Water Works’ administration building became an ENERGY STAR Certified Building, outperforming 82% of similar buildings nationwide.

Using 2016 as the baseline, Des Moines Water Works improved its energy intensity by 8.58% during 2017-2018. Energy intensity is normalized using water production and weather data. The improvement saved Des Moines Water Works $615,000 in direct energy cost savings and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 2856 metric tons.

Des Moines Water Works’ Energy Management Initiatives Background

In 2018, Des Moines Water Works became the first U.S. water treatment utility to certify a water treatment plant to the ISO 50001 standard and Superior Energy Performance® (SEP) program.  The SEP program has long helped industrial and commercial organizations establish energy management systems that meet the widely respected ISO 50001 standard and achieve verified energy and cost savings.  As the first certified facility in the water sector, Des Moines Water Works’ Fleur Drive Water Treatment Plant has paved the way for similar facilities nationwide to increase efficiency, cut costs, and demonstrate responsible management of resources.

“Des Moines Water Works has taken pro-active steps in good stewardship of energy and ratepayer dollars by implementing a comprehensive energy conservation and management program,” said Ted Corrigan, Des Moines Water Works Interim CEO and General Manager.  “This culture of managing energy will help the Des Moines Water Works expand its energy and cost savings to benefit the environment and our water customers.  Des Moines Water Works is a leader in stewardship of natural resources, improving energy performance, and reducing carbon emissions.”

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