Demonstrated Energy Neutrality Leadership: A Study of Five Champions of Change


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Author(s): WERF

Publication Date: 15/02/2016

Pages: 100

eISBN: 9781780407456

Categories: Policy & governance

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The purpose of this report is to create an opportunity for water resource recovery facility (WRRF) energy managers to learn from the experiences of their peers. The five case studies presented in this report will aid other utilities that wish to improve their energy management programs. The “champions of change” profiled in this report all achieved high energy performance at their respective facilities.

Findings from the case studies may enable new ways of thinking about energy efficiency and recovery, and inspire and propel other WRRFs to consider approaches to move their facilities toward net zero energy. The findings also explore opportunities to save costs and enhance sustainability, as well as provide solutions to overcome obstacles common to energy projects. All WRRFs highlighted in this report possess three over-arching qualities that contributed to their success as energy performance leaders. These leaders:

  • Showed commitment to a set of long-term goals which call for sustainable energy management often before this was called net-zero.
  • Accessed their internal advocates to serve as champions for high performance energy management.
  • Demonstrated an eagerness to innovate and lead, which created an environment for innovation and interest in untested strategies to move toward net zero energy goals.

Energy management extends beyond reduced consumption and improved efficiency. Management of energy cost volatility and control of peak demand and improved reliability are also critical factors in comprehensive energy management. The leading utilities profiled in this report took several specific actions to propel their facilities to high performance in energy management:

  • Developed utility-wide energy plans that incorporate strategic goals for key performance indicators and take a holistic, life-cycle approach to energy management.
  • Connected with an academic institution for support and expertise.
  • Used available resources to understand energy efficiency and recovery opportunities. 
  • Shared information with other WRRFs and collaborated on policy matters to advance their energy goals. 
  • Explored new and innovative funding options for energy projects and took advantage of outside sources of capital funds.


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