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Energy Management and Sustainability Goals Shape the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility's Future

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As one of the first national municipal entities to be certified under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 program, the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility (LRWWU) in Massachusetts takes great pride in its vision to be a leader in environmental management system (EMS) approaches and energy conservation, and to promote a sustainable strategy for wastewater collection, treatment and management.

During its initial plan, LRWWU focused on energy reduction, reducing its annual energy consumption by 30 percent through active engagement of energy-saving procedures developed by staff and construction of wastewater treatment facility modifications. Energy-saving efforts include motion detectors for lighting, power correction capacitors, conversion of direct drive motors to variable frequency drives, more energy-efficient motors and conversion of its mechanical aeration system to a fine-bubble system.

In 2007, LRWWU initiated a comprehensive energy audit of its collection and treatment system facilities, which included a review of plant-wide energy management procedures, processes and procedures to look for energy savings, potential renewable energy sources, and adoption of green and sustainable strategies and technologies. This audit facilitated LRWWU's participation in the Massachusetts Energy Management Pilot Program – a program that is providing communities with technical and financial assistance for the identification and implementation of energy-efficient opportunities at treatment facilities.

Under this program, LRWWU is installing high-efficiency turbo aeration blowers, roof-top PV systems to provide supplemental electricity, green roofs to reduce the stormwater runoff from the buildings and to reduce solar gain, solar walls for supplemental building heat, and complete renovations to the administration building for energy-efficient lighting and climate control equipment. New motor control and monitoring equipment, all connected to its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, will allow LRWWU to implement an energy management system that will proactively monitor and control power uses at the facility. LRWWU is also developing a master landscape plan that incorporates rain gardens, rainwater cisterns, pervious concrete parking area pavement and detention ponds to minimize its stormwater impact to the Merrimack River.

The paper presents LRWWU's approach to energy management and sustainable strategies consistent with its ISO 14001 certification and mission statement. LRWWU intends to integrate its efforts with city-wide initiatives on green buildings and energy reduction, whereby the utility is a leader in the community, demonstrating the benefits of these programs.

Keywords: ISO 14001; Municipalities; PV; energy efficiency; energy management; energy reduction; green roofs; green technologies; passive solar heating; renewable energy; turbo blowers

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

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