Achieving Perfect Water Efficiency Starts with Small Steps
We “Got Your Six”
As one of our core values, this means we trust that our teammates are watching our backs (got your six o’clock covered). Coincidentally, for cooling towers, a ratio of makeup to bleed water of “six” also represents near-perfect Water Efficiency Score (WES) in the Southwest, unlocking massive water savings. If you accept the challenge, we’re going to have your six getting to six.
Target Water Efficiency Score
Six tools to get you there
Water Efficiency Tools and Services
Understanding Your Total Program Performance is the First Step
Water Efficiency Performance:
Water Efficiency Score
Water is consumed in an open cooling tower either from evaporation, or when the tower needs to “bleed off” to remove water that has become too concentrated with contaminants. While water treatment can’t change how hot it is outside and how much evaporation will occur, we can target what causes bleed. Our Water Efficiency Score (WES) ,also known as “cycles of concentration”, measures the volume of makeup water to bleed water so we can make like-for-like comparisons across seasons and weather conditions. A score of six or more is considered excellent.
Simply measuring dollars spent on a cooling tower program can be highly variable and misleading since cooling demand can vary greatly from year to year. To account for large swings, we prefer to measure cooling tower operating costs (chemicals, onsite service, water/sewer bill) per one thousand gallons of makeup water used.
How much are you spending, and what efficiency are you getting for it?
Success for a water treatment program needs to be considered within the context of both financial AND water efficiency performance. It does not always make sense to push for higher efficiency if the costs outweigh the benefits. Likewise, we often see that “low operating cost” programs are either risky or are failing to consider other options that can unlock deep savings in total cost of ownership. EAI excels at exploring all options to find the right balance.
OUR EXPERTS ARE WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU.
Click here to talk to an expert about your program’s performance
Digital Flow Meters – Sewer Credits & Rebates
The absolute first step in pursuing better water efficiency and operating expenses is to have a full accounting of all the water entering and leaving your cooling tower. This means flow meters (submeters) on both the makeup line into your cooling tower, and the bleed line out to sewer. Almost as important is to make the meter reading and analysis as easy as possible with a digital, remotely-monitored, cloud-based meter.
While this is necessary for a full analysis of the water saving options available for your facility, it is also necessary to qualify and maintain rebate eligibility with your utility or water district. Additionally, cloud-based metering will give you real-time visibility into the performance of your system, and allows you (and your water treatment team) to quickly react before a small problem turns into a facility-impacting event.
If you choose to have flow meters installed by EAI, we offer a
customized portal and dashboard that takes your raw meter data turns it into actionable insights – available to you 24/7. To help, many utilities are currently offering rebates to bring down the cost to zero or near-zero.
Where EAI truly excels is in doing a full analysis of all the options available to make your cooling tower as water efficient as possible. We look at your current operating expenses, water quality metrics, cooling tower design and profile, and goals to find the options with the best ROI and total cost of ownership. We also make sure you and all your decision makers have a full understanding of the technology and operational considerations to achieve a higher Water Efficiency Score, including:
- Adding, retrofitting, or replacing water softeners
- Adding pretreatment with one or more customized ion exchange resins – Engineered Water
- Evaluating the options for regenerating pretreatment resins onsite versus offsite
- Treatment program additives to manage scaling potential
- Incorporating water recycling from tower blowdown or wastewater from other industrial processes
To learn more about pretreatment options, check out our blogposts.
Optimize Current Program
For many facilities, sometimes the right answer is to make small improvements to your current processes. If you already think that your facility is performing at a good water efficiency given the level of spending on your program, then consider we’re standing by to help you with the following potential adjustments:
- Run an assessment on your existing water softener programming and operational condition
- Substitute expensive chemical blends for equally effective alternatives with better value
- Adjust the dosing to correct over or under-feeding of biocides, corrosion and scale inhibitors.
- Run simulations of water quality and chemical program variations in specialized software
To further understand how your facility is currently performing and if small adjustments might be the right fit, check out our blog on figuring out the right water treatment spend, and our free water efficiency/cost self-assessment tool.
Rebate Find & Match
Dealing with utilities to find rebates often feels like a lot of work, but in the case of cooling towers, the benefits can be substantial. With over 30 years operating in California and the Southwest, we “got your six” in finding meaningful rebates. Since some of these rebates can be recurring or first-come, first-serve, it really pays to jump on them early. Some examples of how we can help:
- Sewer Rebates (see example, below)
- Sub-Metering Rebates for Cooling Towers – great by themselves, and often needed to qualify for sewer rebates
- Water Softener Rebates – Adding pretreatment to lower water and chemical consumption
- Salt-Based Softener Removal Rebates – particularly in Arizona where wastewater salinity means that alternate, salt-free pretreatment options like ion exchange resins are needed
- Credits for other capital equipment investments for lower-chemical water treatment
Sewer Fees and Rebates: On your monthly water bill, you will notice
that you are charged a “sewer fee” to cover the expenses of maintaining the sewer network and providing wastewater treatment. Many utilities, by default, assume that a customer sends all their tap water to sewer. While some utilities make seasonal adjustments for non-sewer uses such as irrigation, very few will proactively give an industrial or commercial facility credit for evaporative cooling tower loss.
Even for a small cooling tower, this could be millions of gallons of water per year that you are being charged for that you could avoid.
Many utilities will allow you to claim a “sewer credit” if you can prove that you have metering on your makeup and blowdown lines in and out of your tower, and that you actively report evaporative loss. With advances in remote digital metering, the cost of doing this the easy way has never been better. Talk with us about getting these installed with a rebate, and about easy reporting with our web portal.
EBook: The New Rules of Cooling Tower Water Efficiency
For any facilities engineer that wants to learn more about how to measure and improve water efficiency, this is your authoritative guide. We’ll walk through exactly how to assess your current performance and opportunity for improvement before diving into the technology/solution landscape. By the end, you will not only be able to confidently assess and explain your facility’s current performance to your stakeholders and will be able to engage with solutions providers with a strong foundation of technical understanding.
Water Efficiency Dashboard
Do you already have submeters, but need a way to track them over time and translate what the raw flow data means for program performance? If this is you, check out our absolutely free tool that allows you to store your data on a simple, clean Excel-based dashboard. This can save you a ton of time when working with the finance or sustainability teams in setting annual goals and budgets or reducing the burden of executive reporting on your progress. This dashboard will automatically convert your meter readings into a Water Efficiency Score to remove the seasonal/weather noise. You can also layer in expense data of your water treatment program to measure your financial efficiency of operations and return on investment from previous decisions.
Water Efficiency Self-Assessment
Want to get a sense for how well you are performing today? With some simple inputs, this tool will allow you to determine which water efficiency – financial efficiency quadrant your facility falls in. It also has some recommendations for things you can do on your own to improve your results. This can help you determine if your team is already in a good place, or if you could benefit from calling in an outside expert.
It can sometimes help to get a second opinion on your water treatment program. Our onsite audits can start with a brief visit to check the current makeup water quality and verify if your data is in proper conformance and control to safely achieve desired
water efficiency. Once we know more about your towers, we can then doublecheck that your chemical treatment or pretreatment plans are right for your facility.