Wastewater Energy Management Toolkit

image of a modern wastewater plant image of 2 men in hard hats testing the water in a wastewater treatment plant image of an aerial view of a wastewater treatment facility

image of a water tank at a water resource recovery facility image of a ladder and equipment at a wastewater treatment facility

The Wastewater Energy Management Toolkit is a collection of resources that enables water resource recovery facilities to learn and benefit from the work of DOE's Better Buildings Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future (SWIFt) Accelerator. Toolkit resources support best practices and innovative approaches successfully used by wastewater facilities to establish and implement energy management and planning.

Energy Data Management

This section includes tools and resources for managing wastewater facility energy data, the foundation of strong energy management and planning in which facilities measure and track their energy performance to inform decisions about infrastructure improvements.

Measure Evaluation

This section provides tools and resources to help your water resource recovery facility evaluate, plan for, and implement measures that meet its needs and goals.

Project Financing

This section features information about common funding and financing options that offer alternatives to limited capital budgets and can result in more timely infrastructure improvement.

Improvement Planning

This section includes a template with suggested best-practice structure and content for strategic facility improvement plans, guidelines for designing infrastructure improvement suited to individual facilities, and example plans from SWIFt Accelerator partners.

DOE offers customized training and support on the use and implementation of the Toolkit to help more facilities set and achieve their energy efficiency goals. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Why Energy Management is Important in Water Resource Recovery Facilities

Municipal wastewater treatment systems in the U.S. consume a total of approximately 30 billion kWh annually, and their operations are typically the largest energy users in a community. Individual wastewater facilities currently consume about five times more energy than is needed to treat their water flow, with that energy use expected to increase by up to 20% in the future due to more stringent water quality standards and growing water demand based on population growth. Reducing energy usage in these facilities can yield significant environmental, economic, and social benefits for local communities.

In recent years a growing number of utilities responsible for clean water have been moving from only wastewater treatment to water resource management, some formally renaming themselves water resource recovery facilities. Energy efficiency in equipment, processes, and operations is a fundamental part of this transition, and energy savings in facility retrofits can reach 50%. Facilities can expand this energy-efficient foundation with resource recovery measures to move closer to a sustainable wastewater infrastructure.

Introduction to the SWIFt Accelerator

The Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future (SWIFt) Accelerator began its Phase 1 as a three-year partnership (2016-2019) of 25 local, regional, and state agencies that engaged with more than 70 water resource recovery facilities in their jurisdictions to accelerate a pathway toward a sustainable infrastructure. DOE’s work with SWIFt facility partners in Phase 1 has produced a number of tools and resources that support energy data management for wastewater operations, and planning, implementation, and financing for comprehensive energy efficiency and resource recovery projects to achieve 30% energy savings.

In SWIFt Phase 1, facility partners reduced their total energy consumption by almost 7% in three years, reduced the amount of energy needed to treat one million gallons of water by 2.5%, and adopted innovative and best-practice energy management and planning approaches in their facilities. Phase 2 of SWIFt will continue this momentum by leveraging the tools, resources, and lessons of SWIFt beyond the time and space of the Accelerator to benefit the broader wastewater sector.