Aerial view of the Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant

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City of Calgary water and wastewater infrastructure energy audits identifies plant efficiencies and cost savings

In May 2016, the City of Calgary established the Water Energy Management Strategy to develop a new standard of excellence for energy management. To pursue this goal, the City retained Associated Engineering to create a Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Energy Audit Program Framework to facilitate the energy audit program. The first phase of the program included the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant Energy Audit that was completed in 2016. This was followed by the recently completed Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant Energy Audit.  The City has established a preliminary energy target to reduce the Energy Performance Indicator by 25% over 25 years, from 2013 to 2038, for both water treatment plants.

Since the 1980s, the City has carried out nearly 30 major capital projects and more than a dozen studies to help maintain and improve the Glenmore and Bearspaw Water Treatment Plants. Associated Engineering is proud to have partnered with the City on these projects, and many of our staff members are very familiar with Calgary’s plant processes and systems. 

The energy audits involved gathering and analyzing the required data to determine the key energy use characteristics of the plants. This enhanced understanding was crucial to developing Energy Conservation Measures that were in-line with the Energy Performance Indicator reduction target and had a reasonable financial payback. Following completion of the background energy consumption analysis, several major Energy Conservation Measures were presented for consideration, and prioritized based on the economic payback of each opportunity. 

These Energy Conservation Measures were quantified, with the information available, to illustrate the energy, environmental and financial benefits of implementing each of them. For example, the Glenmore facility could reduce electricity consumption by over 30% per year, and over 25% of natural gas per year. Operational aspects, including maintenance, were also considered to present a complete picture of the opportunity. We recommended, that, once selected, each Energy Conservation Measure should progress into conceptual design to further validate the benefits and justify implementation.

Project Manager, Shane Thompson, tells us, “These projects have provided the City with a strong benchmark for climate change mitigation by reducing the estimated greenhouse gas emissions for each facility.”  We estimated that implementing the recommended Energy Conservation Measures at both plants, would reduce greenhouse gases by more than 3,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per year at the Bearspaw plant and approximately 4,000 tonnes at the Glenmore plant. These results reinforce The City of Calgary’s “green” electricity strategy.  

To reduce capital expenditures, the CIty has launched a series of optimization studies and projects which have the potential for important gains, while deferring major capital expenditures related to the potable water treatment system. The City recently engaged Associated Engineering to complete the Water Treatment Plants Optimization Project which will build on the outcomes and recommendations provided from the Water Treatment Plants Master Plan and Energy Audits.  This project will help identify additional capacity at both plants, and allow for major capital upgrades to be deferred, thus improving available cash flow for the City. 

Shane says, “We are also currently planning an energy audit at the City’s Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, as well as developing energy monitoring recommendations for the City’s Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant to facilitate a future energy audit.”