Sustainable Water Infrastructure

Water and Energy Efficiency at Utilities and in the Home

Make the Drops-to-Watts Connection

Being water and energy efficient provides a wide range of benefits—for utilities, consumers, businesses, and the community as a whole. Using less water means moving and treating less water, which helps reduce the strain on water supplies and drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

Delivering water and wastewater services is also energy-intensive, as the water is treated, pumped to homes and businesses, then pumped to wastewater facilities to be treated again. EPA estimates 3 to 4 percent of national electricity consumption, equivalent to approximately 56 billion kilowatts, or $4 billion, is used to provide drinking water and wastewater services each year.

Water and wastewater utilities are typically the largest consumers of energy in municipalities, often accounting for 30 to 40 percent of total energy consumed. Implementing energy efficiency measures at water sector systems can significantly reduce operating costs and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Water and Energy Efficiency at Utilities

If water and wastewater utilities could reduce energy use by just 10 percent using demand management and cost-effective investments in energy efficiency, it would save about $400 million annually. EPA has tools and information to help water sector utilities manage water for optimum water and energy efficiency.

Conservation in the Home

There are many ways to decrease household water and energy use through simple daily tasks or the installation of water- and energy-efficient products. EPA estimates that retrofitting one out of every 100 American homes with water-efficient fixtures would save about 100 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year and avoid adding 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. To learn more about how to make an impact, see these programs:

  • WaterSense - Through the WaterSense program, EPA offers a label for products and services that are certified to save water without sacrificing performance. Manufacturers, retailers, builders, utilities, and others can partner with the program to help raise awareness of WaterSense labeled products and an ethic of careful water use.
  • ENERGY STAR - ENERGY STAR is a joint program of EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy, helping the public save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.
  • Alliance for Water Efficiency Exit - The Alliance for Water Efficiency is a national organization that serves as a clearinghouse and advocate for water efficiency research, evaluation, and education.