Water Waste, Leaking Pipes and Infrastructure Maintenance

Imagine Manhattan under 300 feet of water, not from a flood or rising sea level, but from the 2.1 trillion gallons of water lost from leaky pipes every year. That is nearly 6 billion gallons a day! The majority of leaks are a result of old infrastructure, pressure changes in the water mains, and small household leaks.

Source: theenergycollective.com

>”[…] Infrastructure leaks

About 14-18% of water treated in the United States is wasted through aging and damaged infrastructure, as well as faulty meters. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the US a “D” grade for water infrastructure. Let’s take a look at a few cities around the US.

Chicago wastes about 22 billion gallons of treated water a year, enough to serve 700,000 individual needs for a whole year.The state of California loses about 228 billion gallons a year, which is more than the city of LA uses in a year. On average the state loses 49 gallons a day for every service connection, and Sacramento loses a whopping 135 gallons per connection.In 2013 San Francisco experienced over 100 water main breaks and New York averages over 400 a year.Houston lost 22 billion gallons of water in 2013, 15% of its total water supplyAccording to the EPA we lose about 34 billion gallons of drinking water a day in the United States, about 1/6 of public water systems supply.

Household water waste

Average household leaks can add up to over 10,000 gallons of water a year, enough water to wash 270 loads of laundry. Nationally, household water waste totals over a trillion gallons – or the equivalent of 11 million households’ yearly usage. The most common types of leaks at the household level are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaky showerheads. 10% of US homes waste over 90 gallons a day just from these small fixtures. Here are some quick facts:

  • Faucets: 1 drip/second adds up to over 3,000 gallons a year (you can take 180 showers with that water!)
  • a showerhead leaking at 10 drips/minute wastes over 500 gallons a year (that’s 60 loads of dishes)
  • Old inefficient toilets can water up to 13,000 gallons a year
  • Irrigation leaks just the size of a dime will waste nearly 6,300 gallons a month

[…] Fixing easy leaks can save about 10% on your monthly water bill. Replacing that old toilet with a new efficient toilet could save you upwards of $2,400 over the toilet’s lifetime. […]”<

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Water Prices in 2015 Up 6 Percent in 30 Major U.S. Cities

Continuing a trend that reflects the disrepair and shows no sign of slowing, the price of residential water service in 30 major U.S. cities rose faster than the cost of nearly every other household staple last year …

Source: www.circleofblue.org

>” […] The economics of water — particularly the cost of treatment, pumping, and new infrastructure, as well as the retail price for consumers — gained renewed prominence as California and Texas, America’s two most populous states, face historic droughts and water managers seek to rein in water consumption, with price increases as one tool in their arsenal.

The average monthly cost of water for a family of four using 100 gallons per person per day climbed 6 percent, according to data collected from the utilities. It is the smallest year-to-year change in the six-year history of the Circle of Blue survey but comparable to past years. The median increase this year was 4.5 percent. In comparison, the Consumer Price Index rose just 1.8 percent in the 12 months ending in March, not including the volatile food and energy sectors. Including food and energy, prices fell by 0.1 percent.

For families using 150 gallons and 50 gallons per person per day, average water prices rose 6 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

The survey results reflect broad trends in the municipal water industry that nearly every U.S. utility must grapple with, according to Andrew Ward, a director of U.S. public finance for Fitch Ratings, a credit agency.

Distribution pipes, which can branch for thousands of miles beneath a single city, have aged beyond their shelf life and crack open daily. Some assessments peg the national cost of repairing and replacing old pipes at more than $US 1 trillion over the next two decades. In addition, new treatment technologies are needed to meet Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act requirements, and cities must continue to pay down existing debts. At the same time, conservation measures have proven successful. Utilities are selling less water, but they still need big chunks of revenue to cover the substantial cost of building and maintaining a water system. All together, these and other factors amount to a persistent upward pressure on water rates. […]

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Idle Load Reduction Strategies for Energy Efficiency Gains and Clean Air

NRDC: Always-on but inactive devices may cost Americans $19 billion and 50 power plants’ worth of electricity annually.

Source: www.nrdc.org

>”  […]  Idle load or “baseload” electricity consumption includes appliances and equipment in off or “standby” mode but still drawing power; in “sleep mode” ready to power up quickly; and left fully on but inactive. Much of this always-on energy provides little or no benefit to the consumer because most devices are not performing their primary function and home occupants are not actively using them.

The Natural Resources Defense Council partnered with Home Energy Analytics and the Stanford Sustainable Systems Lab to assess the impact of the growing cohort of always-on devices on consumer utility bills. We used three separate data sets: smart meter data from 70,000 northern California homes; smart meter and additional information for 2,750 San Francisco Bay Area homes; and a detailed in-home audit of 10 Bay area homes.

We found that “always-on” electricity use by inactive devices represents on average nearly 23 percent of northern California household electricity consumption.

But if all homes in the United States reduced their always-on load for inactive devices to the level that a quarter of the homes in our study already achieve, it would:

save consumers $8 billion on their annual utility bills,avoid 64 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity use per year, andprevent 44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution, or 4.6 percent of U.S. residential sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generation.

[…] Ensuring that electronics, appliances, and miscellaneous electrical devices consume only as much electricity as necessary when unused presents a huge opportunity to save energy and money. Eliminating this energy waste also decreases the number of fossil fuel–burning power plants necessary to generate electricity, thereby reducing harmful air pollutants and carbon emissions that threaten our health and the environment.

Given that these power plants account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon pollution, smarter energy use can have a measurable impact on overall emissions and would help states comply with emissions reduction targets under the government’s Clean Power Plan to set the first-ever limits on this dangerous pollution. In addition, optimizing energy use helps eliminate the need to build new expensive energy infrastructure, saving utilities and their customers money.

In the meantime, consumers can take these steps in their homes and businesses:

Optimize the efficiency of their current devices;Buy more efficient appliances, electronics, and miscellaneous devices, such as those labeled ENERGY STAR™, whether replacing old models or purchasing new ones;Urge lawmakers to enact idle load labeling so shoppers can avoid products with high idle loads; andInsist that all devices be required to meet idle load efficiency standards so there is no need to worry about models needlessly wasting electricity, the same way regulatory mechanisms ensure that our vehicles are safe to drive and foods are safe to eat.  “<

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Operations – Systems & Controls, Maintenance & Commissioning