Forging a Credible Product Test
The opportunity in water and wastewater treatment is clear: between 20 and 40 percent of the cost of delivering clean water and processing sewage is attributable to the energy it takes to move water through municipal systems. In 2009, CEE members took note of the advertised energy savings potential of a new generation of aeration blower technologies, typically the most energy-intensive system in wastewater treatment. Upon further exploration, members learned that there was little consistency in blower energy performance testing among manufacturers, and significant market mistrust of stated performance claims. CEE members invited leading blower manufacturers to help them understand the landscape of blower performance and testing procedures.
Four blower manufacturers and a nationally recognized blower performance expert attended the 2009 CEE Industry Partners meeting to discuss blower technologies, applications, energy performance, and performance testing. This meeting allowed for direct, face-to-face dialogue between industry leaders and program administrators. CEE members addressed the importance of industry-accepted test procedures in enabling market development, and laid out the key performance metrics for the energy efficiency program industry.
Manufacturers present at that meeting quickly agreed that test procedures were a big issue and worth addressing as an industry. Following up with a series of conference calls and one more in-person meeting, CEE members and blower industry leaders identified a process to engage relevant industry associations and standards-setting organizations to develop a test procedure that would enjoy broad industry support. Today CEE has heard from key constituencies across the wastewater industry that new energy performance test procedures are impacting the way in which aeration blowers are specified and selected, and energy performance is highlighted as a key criterion in customer decision making.
CEE seeks opportunities to create market infrastructure supporting efficiency. Good things happen when CEE members get together with industry. Program administrators now have a tool for promoting efficiency in a key industrial process. Manufacturers have a basis upon which to make product performance claims. Cities and towns also benefit from greater transparency in equipment selection and improved operational efficiency.