Queen's University

Researchers search for energy savings in local water system

 
2012-10-16

Queen’s University researchers are partnering with local industry to determine how much electricity is used to transport and treat water and wastewater in Kingston’s Hydro’s electricity distribution territory. The consortium will also identify cost-effective water conservation measures that could be implemented by local businesses and institutions, along with incentives that recognize a reduction of embedded energy in each cubic meter of water and sewage. 

“Our goal at Queen’s is to get a sense of geographic opportunities to save energy in the water system,” says Warren Mabee, Director of the Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy (QIEEP). “Rather than coming up with one blanket set of recommendations, we’re looking at the network as it operates, and trying to come up with specific solutions based on the distance to source, composition of institutional/commercial/residential space, and energy required.”

Within the City of Kingston, electricity for transporting and treating water and sewage is the single largest municipal energy expenditure. Determining the best conservation initiatives will allow Kingston Hydro and Utilities Kingston an opportunity to offer its customers better incentives to conserve. One option includes ‘stacking’ provincial electricity schemes and local water conservation strategies to make simple water saving investments more financially attractive.

Queen’s researcher Yves Filion (Civil Engineering) is working with Dr. Mabee on the project, and two students (Alexandra Oldford, Civil Engineering and Jessica Buttery, Geography) are also engaged. The other partners include the Sustainable Energy Applied Research Centre at St. Lawrence College and Utilities Kingston, as well as the consulting firm IndEco.

The project is funded by a grant from the Ontario Power Authority Conservation Fund, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funded grant, funding and in-kind support from Utilities Kingston, and in-kind contributions from QIEEP. The total cost of the six-month project is over $150,000.

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