Assorted Links

San Francisco parks waste thousands of gallons of drinkable water each day through cracked pipes and aged irrigation systems.

California’s Green Building Standards Code – known as CalGreen – will become mandatory on January 1, 2011.

A new study reports that most heat pumps in the UK are not performing as intended.

A competition focusing on the Water-Energy Nexus is looking for start-ups that save energy in moving, treating and using water and wastewater.

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Links – Water and Energy

Alex Wilson, of BuildingGreen, has written two blogs posts recently that I think will be of interest to Zero Resource readers…I’ve posted snippets, but I recommend reading the entire original posts.

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Saving Energy by Conserving Water

Averaged statewide , roughly 5% of California’s electricity is used for moving and treating water and wastewater. (The oft-quoted figure of 19% includes water heating and other things we do with water in homes, businesses, and farms.) But these figures vary widely in different parts of the state. A 2005 report from the California Energy Commission found supply and conveyance of water to range in intensity from 0 to 16,000 kilowatt-hours per million gallons (kWh/MG), while filtration and treatment varied from 100 to 1,500 kWh/MG, distribution varied from 700 to 1,200 kWh/MG, and wastewater collection and treatment varied from 1,100 to 5,000 kWh/MG. Not surprisingly, average totals are far higher in southern California (12,700 kWh/MG) than in northern California (3,950 kWh/MG).

Saving Water by Conserving Energy

By weighting thermoelectric and hydroelectric power generation sources, the NREL report calculated an average water-intensity of electricity in the U.S. to be 2.0 gal/kWh. So if you use 500 kWh per month, that’s requiring, on average, 1,000 gallons of water.

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New Water Magazine from Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins University’s Global Water Program has published its first issue of Global Water Magazine, which is available online here.

The magazine will focus the editorial pieces around six main themes: Water & Energy, Water & Food, Water & Health, Water in the Environment, Water Infrastructure, and Water Policy.

In the first issue, there are several articles that I think would be of interest to readers of this blog, listed below.

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Imperatives for Urban Water Professionals on the Pathway to 2050 by Paul Reiter

Abstract: Looking forward to 2050, the challenges of adding 2 billion more people to an already resource-constrained planet will require major changes in the resources efficiency, energy efficiency and cost of urban water systems of the future. A step change including the integration of city planning and urban water system design will be required to optimize the efficiency and resilience of urban water systems in addition to the development of physical and institutional linkages between agricultural, energy and urban water uses.

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The First Stop on the Road to Corporate Water Reporting: Measurement by Eva Zabey

Abstract: External demands on companies to report on their water use and impacts are intensifying. But before reporting, business needs to measure, and many groups are developing approaches to do just that.

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The Energy-Water Nexus: Finding Solutions in the Balance by Jan Dell and Kathy Freas

Abstract: With uncertainties associated to climate change projections, companies and public utilities face a convergence of energy, water and carbon issues that are impacting their operations and planned projects in sectors and geographical regions.

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Stimulus Money for Energy Efficiency


The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) will receive $20 million from the federal stimulus funds designated for California. The money will launch a Home Performance Program, which will offer HERS audits and energy upgrades to about 15,000 homes in SMUD territory. Because the program is expected to increase demand for trained contractors and auditors, SMUD will be working with the Sacramento Employment and Training agency and Los Rios Community College to develop training programs – via SMUD.

The California Energy Commission also approved $8 million for the County of Los Angeles, $3 million for the County of San Diego, and $1.9 million for the City of Fresno from Recovery Act Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants for residential energy retrofit programs – via Imperial Valley News.

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There’s a cool map of hotspots where water and energy are coming into conflict around the world –  IEEE Spectrum.

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There’s a new study from Arizona State University that analyzes the life cycle impact of swimming pools in nine cities in terms of their consumption of chemicals, water, and energy – via Environmental Science & Technology.

Anna’s Links – Water and Solar Energy

I recently wrote a post as an overview of the energy-water nexus. Here are a couple articles that highlight the link between solar projects and water.

Armagosa Valley, Nevada (

Last year, the New York Times ran an article about how a promising solar project in Armagosa Valley,  Nevada, by Solar Millenium ran hard up against western worries about water. The two proposed solar farms would require 1.3 billion gallons of water a year, or 20 percent of the local water available.

The Las Vegas Sun reports on the Skyline Solar facility in Nipton, California, that will use concentrating solar photovoltaic (CPV). CPV plants are expected to use much less water than solar thermal plants, which means they may be better candidates for places with lots of sun, but not as much water.

The energy-water nexus generally refers to needing water to produce energy and needing energy to move and filter water; however, it seemed fitting to include a story about using the sun and water to reduce energy use:

 NPR reports that the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina is becoming one of the largest communities to widely install solar hot water panels. FLS Energy owns and installs the panels and then sells the hot water to the base, which means that there are basically only two main actors and decision-makers needed to install  systems on all 900 homes.  (The base is also planning a LEED Platinum fitness center – more info on the base website.)