Tools and Materials

NYSERDA's FOCUS on Municipal Water and Wastewater Program has developed a variety of tools and materials to assist operators and municipal officials with understanding energy efficiency. New tools and materials are added regularly, so be sure to check back often.

  • Self-Help Tools. The Water Checklist [PDF] and Wastewater Checklist [PDF] have been designed to assist smaller facilities with identifying opportunities for energy efficient improvements.
  • Benchmarking Tools. The Water Benchmarking Tool [ZIP] and the Wastewater Benchmarking Tool [ZIP] have been designed to help facilities track and monitor the energy trends and plant performance.
  • Payback Analysis Tool. The Payback Analysis Tool [ZIP] has been designed to assist facilities with the life cycle cost comparison of different equipment replacement alternatives.
  • If you do not have Excel, download the Excel ViewerLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. to view the Excel files above.
  • Training. Please contact NYSERDA's Focus on Water and Wastewater Ask the Expert at for information on upcoming training events.
  • General Educational Materials. The 10 Steps to Energy Efficiency [PDF] can help facilities to communicate the basic components of an energy management plan to staff, the public or municipal representatives. The NYSERDA Program Overview provides a summary of the most relevant NYSERDA programs for the water and wastewater sector.
  • Case Studies. To help water and wastewater facilities understand how NYSERDA programs can assist with implementing energy efficiency improvements, numerous case studies have been developed. Please visit Case Studies for downloads.
  • Articles. Articles highlighting the value of energy efficiency improvements have been published in several statewide publications.
  • Resource Handbook. A Best Practices Handbook [PDF|5.6MB] has been developed through the FOCUS on Municipal Water and Wastewater Program and is available for download.

Cost Savings through Energy Efficiency

There are many ways that energy efficiency improvements result in cost savings for local governments. Lowering energy consumption through the use of more energy-efficient equipment or processes can result in lower energy costs. Likewise, staggering the use of large energy-intensive equipment or processes to reduce peak demand charges can also result in energy cost savings.

To determine whether an energy efficiency improvement project will be cost effective, most municipalities consider the "Simple Payback" (SPB) or the "Life Cycle Cost" (LCC). Typically, for smaller projects involving equipment replacement and/or low up-front capital costs, using the SPB method is appropriate. However, for larger projects involving significant up-front capital costs, multiple cost factors and variations in annual cash flow, LCC analysis is preferred.

The SPB method calculates the length of time over which cumulative energy savings and other project benefits will be equal to (or "payback") the initial project investment. To calculate the SPB, divide the total project cost by the total expected benefit. For example, assume that a facility is evaluating Project A: whether to replace their motors with more efficient models. If the new motors cost $200,000, and are expected to reduce energy costs by $100,000 per year and last for 5 years before another $200,000 motor replacement is needed, then the SPB for Project A is 2 years.

LCC analysis considers the initial cost of the project as well as all of the costs and benefits over the lifetime of the project. The LCC approach incorporates the time value of money, the volatility of utility costs and other factors such as operation and maintenance or other costs. For example, assume a facility is evaluating Project B: whether to use a new treatment process which will cost $700,000 in the first year, with replacement costs of $200,000 every 5 years. Project B is expected to save the facility $184,000 per year for twenty years. The SPB of this project is 3.8 years. On first look, Project A is more appealing with a SPB of 2 years versus nearly 4 years for Project B. However, the Project B will generate more savings over time. Assuming an interest (discount) rate of 7% and an inflation rate of 3%, the LCC of Project A saves $550,000 in today's dollars whereas Project B saves $1,400,000 – a difference of $850,000.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star Tools and Resources LibraryLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. provides links to various Financial Evaluation Tools including a Cash Flow Opportunity Calculator (a Microsoft Excel-based tool) to help decision-makers to evaluate the benefits of installing energy efficient equipment.

The US Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) offers many resources to assist with Life-Cycle Cost AnalysisLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. including FEMP's Building Life-Cycle Cost Software, training opportunities and a Life-Cycle Costing Manual.

The NYSERDA FOCUS on Municipal Water and Wastewater Program has developed a customized Payback Analysis Tool [ZIP] to assist New York's water and wastewater facilities with understanding and communicating the difference between 'simple payback' and 'lifecycle cost'. The tool provides a comparison of projected baseline energy use (using historical energy billing data, prior to installation of energy efficient equipment or processes) and projected current energy use (using current energy billing data, after the installation of energy efficient equipment or processes), and calculates the 'simple payback' as well as the lifecycle cost breakeven point. This tool clearly depicts the cost savings to be achieved from energy efficiency improvement projects.

Energy Efficiency and Asset Management

Asset management is a growing topic within New York's water and wastewater sector. Energy efficient products and processes may easily be integrated into a facility's asset management plan. One of the most straightforward ways to integrate energy efficiency into an asset management plan is through asset replacement. For each item in your asset inventory, identify and select energy efficient replacements, and create an asset replacement plan that lists the selected energy efficient equipment. This is particularly important for equipment reaching the end of its useful life, requiring replacement soon.

Energy efficient replacements can be found for most any piece of equipment in your facility. NYSERDA's listing of energy efficient products is a good place to start. Other online resources include the EPA Energy Star website, particularly the Purchasing & ProcurementLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. webpage. Through the EPA Energy Star Service & Product ProviderLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. webpage you can locate companies that can provide you with energy efficient services and products.

The EPA has many resources available to assist facilities with understanding and implementing asset management practices, including the Check-Up Program for Small Systems (CUPPS)Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

Online Tools to Evaluate Energy Efficiency Opportunities

There are many online resources available to assist operators with identifying and evaluating energy efficiency opportunities at their facility. These include the following:

  • The EPA Energy Star Tools and Resources LibraryLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. offers a variety of general energy management guidance as well as tools to assess building and plant energy efficiency.
  • Pump Systems Matter has developed the Pump System Improvement Modeling Tool (PSIM)Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. to help pump system engineers to understand the hydraulic behavior of pumping systems. The PSIM tool calculates pump energy usage and energy cost over time using Net Present Value concepts.
  • Pump Systems Matter also provides assistance with the US Department of Energy's Pump System Assessment Tool (PSAT)Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. software which helps users to assess energy saving opportunities in existing pumping systems. PSAT relies on field measurements of flow rate, head and motor power or current to perform the assessment to estimate existing pump or motor efficiency and the potential energy cost/savings for a system optimized to perform at peak efficiency. Pump Systems Matter can provide Qualified Pump Systems Specialists to assist pump users in applying PSAT to evaluate their pumping systems.


Submetering within a water or wastewater treatment facility involves installing power-metering equipment to determine the energy consumption of the various processes within the facility. Measurements can be collected for each unit process and/or for the whole plant. Submetered data can be used to develop a benchmark for the facility. The collected data from the meters is compared with historical data of the same processes to examine and evaluate performance and energy use at the facility. Better understanding and more precise measurements of energy use often provide information leading to energy cost savings and energy-efficiency measures within the plant.

NYSERDA has been actively involved in evaluating the usefulness of submetering as a tool for identifying energy-savings opportunities at water and wastewater facilities. The following technical reports have been produced which document the effectiveness of submetering:

Last Updated: 10/08/2014