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U.S. Department of Energy Recognizes Glenbard Wastewater Authority for Achieving 50001 Ready

Glenbard facilityThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognizes the Glenbard Wastewater Authority (GWA) for achieving DOE 50001 Ready at its primary treatment facility. GWA treats raw sewage for approximately 90,000 residents of the Villages of Glen Ellyn, located in Illinois. This facility averages a daily design flow of 16 million gallons, with design flow peaking at 47 million gallons, and the facility’s treatment processes include screenings, clarification, and disinfection, among others.

In 2019, GWA enrolled in a strategic program with the facility’s electric utility, ComEd, and Cascade Energy. The three-year program marked the beginning of a systematic approach to energy management and equipped participating staff with the tools needed to identify potential improvements in lighting, heating and cooling, and the maintenance of unoccupied remote buildings. Afterward, through DOE’s Better Plants program, GWA worked with Advanced Energy to continue energy management efforts. Prior to engaging in this program, GWA had a long history of evaluating energy efficiency opportunities when discussing capital projects, making 50001 Ready a natural fit for the facility.    

In using DOE’s 50001 Ready Navigator tool, GWA staff found the energy mapping exercises to be most useful. Taking stock of the finer details of the facility’s operations – by tracking runtimes and evaluating energy bills – ensured that staff were capturing the system accurately and appropriately. Having numbers at hand also allowed them to determine the facility’s biggest energy users, some of which were impacting energy use in ways that previously went unnoticed.

Cost savings is a common motive for engaging with 50001 Ready, but among their reasons for getting involved, GWA staff also included carbon reduction, environmental preservation, and a desire to more fully immerse employees in the facility’s long-standing energy efficiency culture as part of a campaign to encourage organization-wide adoption.

Since achieving 50001 Ready status, GWA staff have witnessed such an accomplishment’s ability to build community. They were recognized in a public newsletter, shared village-wide with residents, GWA staff, and the board, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. The board expressed eagerness to see GWA not only achieve carbon neutrality but also sustain it.

DOE’s 50001 Ready program, managed by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO), provides a self-paced, no-cost way for organizations to build a culture of structured energy improvement that leads to deeper and more sustained energy savings.

Learn more about energy management implementation at GWA’s wastewater treatment facility.