Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Development of a Utility Energy Index to Assist in Benchmarking of Energy Management for Water & Wastewater Industry(ST8390-1)

CDH Energy Corporation


The Water Research Foundation (WRF, formerly the American Water Works Association Research Foundation) and California Energy Commission (CEC) issued a Request for Proposals to develop a utility energy index to benchmark energy management at water and wastewater utilities. NYSERDA provided cost-share for the project, which was performed by CDH Energy Corporation and Stearns & Wheler. The project set out to develop metrics that allow comparison of energy use among and within wastewater treatment plants and water utilities.

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Project Description

The Scope of Work consisted of a literature review, data assembly and analysis, external metric application testing and case studies, internal metric application testing and case studies, and metric use roll-out and training. Data were assembled via survey instrument to create a representative data set of energy use and utility characteristics for wastewater utilities exceeding 1.5 MGD of design influent flow and water utilities serving populations of 10,000 or more. A regression analysis tested the correlation of individual as well as groups of parameters to energy use. Impacts were reviewed at the level of energy data available. For wastewater utilities, the analysis looked at the impact on treatment plant and collection system energy. For water utilities, the analysis looked at the utility in its entirety as well as production, treatment, and distribution impacts individually.


The energy index provides water and wastewater utilities a mechanism for evaluating their internal energy management efforts, a framework for dialog among utilities, and ultimately reduced energy consumption and cost.

Project Results

The project has produced a scoring method that normalizes factors such as specific plant configurations or loading, which made previous comparisons challenging. The scoring method is used as the basis of the EPA’s Portfolio Manager Tool for evaluating water and wastewater treatment plant efficiency.


CDH Energy Corporation
2695 Bingley Road PO Box 641
Cazenovia, NY 13035

Principle Investigator

Hugh Henderson

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Software Application/Analysis Tool

Technologies Types:

Waste Management and Pollution Prevention
Water/Wastewater treatment systems

NYSERDA Contact Information

Kathleen O'Connor


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST8390-1

Last Updated: 1/10/2011