SHAHEEN: EFFICIENT WATER USE KEY TO ENERGY SAVINGS

July 25, 2012

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power, today held a hearing to examine the role of water use efficiency as it relates to energy consumption. Shaheen asked the hearing's panel of energy advocates, environmental leaders and private sector officials to discuss the economic benefit and energy saving potential of water efficiency technologies.

Shaheen has been a strong advocate for energy saving measures and has introduced bipartisan legislation, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which would create jobs and cut costs by creating a national energy efficiency strategy.

Below is Shaheen’s opening statement, as submitted for the record.

We live in a world of constrained water supplies.  With over 60 percent of counties across the country facing drought, the topic of water efficiency is a timely and urgent issue, and one that requires immediate attention. 

Water and energy are interconnected in many ways: electricity generation requires substantial amounts of water and pumping and treating water requires electricity.   Within the context of efficiency, this water and energy nexus is perhaps most easily understood by the principle that every drop of water saved in the U.S. conserves energy, and every unit of energy saved conserves water. 

Despite this clear link, efforts to improve efficient water and energy use have traditionally been handled separately.   However, as we will hear today, there is substantial evidence that shows the need to unify these efforts into a more collaborative and comprehensive framework.  

For example, in one of the only detailed analyses completed to date addressing the energy-water nexus, the California Energy Commission found that nearly 20 percent of the state’s electricity and 30 percent of their natural gas consumption is used to move, treat and heat water.  Further, inefficiencies in our nation’s infrastructure emphasize the need to update and improve water delivery systems.  In fact, according to the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), nearly 60 percent of electricity and 20 percent of water are lost before water is delivered. 

Today’s hearing will provide us with an opportunity to better understand water efficiency and how different techniques and strategies have been deployed across various sectors of our economy to save water.  For example, typical water efficient technologies are being incorporated in plumbing fixtures and fittings, residential appliances like washing machines and dishwashers and wastewater treatment and water filtration systems.  Codes and standards also play a significant role in the world of water efficiency.  Building codes represent an important foundation for implementing programs and policies that encourage efficiency. 

Together, these emerging technologies and codes and standards are helping to make great improvements in our efforts to conserve both water and energy.  The private sector is leading the way in this arena, finding that it is in their best interest to save water not only because it helps their bottom line by saving costs, but also because consumers want more sustainable products.

Finally, I am looking forward to hearing from our panelists about what they perceive to be the barriers that currently exist to more fully deploying water efficient techniques and technologies.

I am pleased to welcome today’s witnesses.  Our panel includes Mr. Henry Green, the President of the National Institute of Building Sciences; Mr. Daniel Bena, Senior Director at PepsiCo; Mr. GP Russ Chaney, CEO of the IAPMO Group; and Ms. Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of Alliance for Water Efficiency.  I look forward to their testimony. 

At this time I would like to recognize the Ranking Member, Senator Lee, for any opening comments he may wish to make.

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