April 15, 2015

Energy-Water Nexus Toolkit: Resources and Best Practices for Using Energy and Water More Efficiently

Water and Energy systems are intertwined. Producing one involves the consumption of the other. This relationship is often referred to as the Energy-Water Nexus, and ensuring that those resources are being used efficiently is an important aspect to increasing resilience.

This is especially true for businesses that want to increase their resiliency against risks associated with inefficient resource use. Whether a company wants to avoid economic costs of energy and water usage, improve its local reputation, or strengthen its value chain, there are plenty of reasons to improve energy and water efficiency.

But it can be difficult for companies to find out exactly how to improve those efficiencies. The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO Group) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center (USCCF) have designed a toolkit to help companies of all types make more informed decisions about how to approach these nexus projects, what types of projects to implement, and how to educate the entire staff and management of the importance of nexus resiliencies.

First, the toolkit gives a brief overview of the Energy-Water Nexus, including the history, issues, and risks surrounding the nexus. This section is particularly useful for companies that want to understand the interplay between water and energy, or how to start the process of determining their nexus vulnerabilities.

Much of the report offers practical and mechanical solutions to immediately address Energy-Water Nexus challenges, from new water management technologies to better ways to control building climates. The toolkit includes more than 30 case studies and resources that show how to do incorporate these tools and companies that have benefited greatly from their installation.

The toolkit also illustrates how the CSR, Sustainability, and Operations staff of a company can work together to pursue more efficient resource management both in-house and in the broader community. While the buy-in of company leadership is essential to promote any corporate activity, if those staffs are not working in sync, then efforts to improve nexus vulnerabilities cannot be executed to their fullest potential.