Strategic Energy Management for Water Resource Recovery Facilities

NYSERDA is working with water resource recovery facilities (WRRF) to incorporate strategic energy management (SEM) into their operations via a 12-month fully funded training program. Through a combination of in-person meetings, workshops, webinars, and individual site visits, participants will learn how to establish and implement an SEM system. Participants will also receive ongoing technical assistance and support for an additional 12 months following completion of training.

How You Benefit

In addition to improving efficiency and achieving greater resiliency, SEM brings WRRFs many additional benefits:

  • Improve control and operation of water treatment processes
  • Reduce risk of violating discharge permits by helping ensure a reliable and consistent effluent quality
  • Extend infrastructure and equipment life spans with lower demand
  • Identify operational issues ahead of time to avoid costly break-fix scenarios or service issues
  • Drive energy savings by increasing the efficiency of pumps and aeration equipment

Learn more about the benefits of SEM from facilities participating in the programLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

Who Can Apply

  • Municipal WRRFs in New York State with any fuel type and annual energy costs of $200,000 or more and that contribute to the System Benefits Charge
  • Participants must have the ability to travel to cohort buildings for the SEM trainings
  • Participants must be willing to share with NYSERDA the data, results, and other lessons learned about how SEM has reduced the company’s energy usage

How the Program Works

The SEM program consists of nine training sessions led by experienced energy coaches from VEICLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. and Cascade EnergyLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.. Eligible WRRFs will select one staff member to serve as their energy champion, whom will be responsible for attending the training sessions and leading SEM processes within their organization. Other staff members are also encouraged to attend the training sessions.

Program Curriculum

Month Training Session Session Type Objective
1-2 Site visit #1 – Onsite kick-off and Baseline Energy Management assessment (EMA) Individual Training Conduct baseline EMA at each WRRF. EMAs are a facilitated process to benchmark current energy management practices, focusing on organizational, rather than engineered, systems.
3 Workshop #1 - Establishing a SEM Program Group Workshop Introduction to SEM and how to get started. The key take-away from this workshop is that quick-wins are needed to jumpstart organizational change and leadership buy-in.
4 Workshop #2 - Saving Energy without Spending Money Group Workshop Learn about commonly-found energy savings within WRRFs that don’t require capital investment; and develop other savings opportunities using straight-forward concepts and tools.
5 Webinar #1 - Metering Toolkit Webinar Develop skills needed to use data metering hardware to identify and vet energy-saving opportunities.
5-7 Site Visit #2 – Treasure Hunt Individual Training Guided on-site training to identify quick-wins and detailed list of actionable energy-savings opportunities.
8 Workshop #3 – Gaining Momentum and Tracking Energy Performance Group Workshop Learn to quantify the value achieved by quick-wins using customized Energy Intensity Models.
9 Workshop #4 – Cementing Action, Engaging Employees, and Capital Planning Group Workshop Learn about new and advanced technologies; strategies for incorporating energy efficiency into capital upgrades; and strategies for changing culture through employee engagement and recognition.
10-11 Site Visit #3 – Technical Coaching and Follow-up EMA Individual Training Uncover strengths and weaknesses in current energy management practices, including organizational barriers, and measure EMA progress against original baseline. Learn to motivate leadership to overcome barriers.
12 Workshop #5 – Presenting Accomplishments Group Workshop Learn to recognize, celebrate, and share accomplishments to generate enthusiasm for continued focus on energy improvements. The Energy Coach will work with each team to prepare a presentation of their SEM “story”.

The primary goal of the wastewater sector has been to meet regulatory requirements for the protection of human health and the environment. The sector has focused on maintaining compliance with discharge requirements regulated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through the New York State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) program. See the Wastewater Energy Management Best Practices Guide [PDF] for more information