Conservation Synergy

This report articulates why and how Western utilities can achieve conservation synergy by integrating water and energy efficiency programs.

The nexus between water and energy has been understood for several years, yet only a handful of utilities have fully capitalized on this knowledge by combining their efficiency programs. Utilities that have collaborated have overwhelmingly found such programs to be a good business decision. The benefits are manifold: higher participation rates, increased customer satisfaction, coordinated and complementary program design, and an improved reputation from working smarter, not harder. This report articulates the reasons for, and the pathways by which, utilities can achieve a conservation synergy.

The process of collaboration among utilities is presented in the report in four steps, distilled from research and interviews with utility staff and efficiency experts across the West:

  1. Confer with regulatory bodies and secure commitment from top management.
  2. Bring the appropriate staff together to: prepare a market analysis; identify the best, first collaborative opportunities; assess cost, benefits, and financing options; define roles and responsibilities; and address risks.
  3. Obtain regulatory approval and implement and evaluate program performance.
  4. Explore new opportunities for expanded collaboration.

Examples of collaborative programs include joint communications, rebates, audits, and building efficiency upgrades. Case studies of each type are included in the report. Also highlighted is an informational pamphlet about saving water and energy that can be adopted at no cost by utilities and distributed to customers.