From The Editor | March 11, 2013

Pump Power: Are You Getting Bang For Your Buck?

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By Kevin Westerling
@KevinOnWater

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It’s no secret that municipalities are working under tight budgets, in no way commensurate to their responsibilities and objectives. Unfortunately, the purse strings likely won’t loosen any time soon, and so efficiency becomes an essential part of operations.

Water and wastewater equipment manufacturers, partly in response to these conditions, have developed energy-efficient, cost-cutting technology, particularly with respect to pumps and controls.

It seems natural to connect the dots — problem and solution — but there is a stumbling block. Many industry experts I’ve spoken to say that utilities are very reluctant to adopt new, energy-saving technology.

One such source, Jes Hansen, president of Grundfos North America, stated the following about engineers and utility managers alike:

“They are extremely conservative when it comes to buying equipment. There is this mentality of ‘better go safe’ and replace it with the same technology that their predecessors implemented, rather than trying new technologies. I think a lot of that is education.”

To address the “education” issue, he proposes a pump-labeling system, which would provide transparency on energy consumption. Strictly from a competitive standpoint, this would force pump companies to develop more efficient technologies, to the benefit of the end user.

According to Hansen, utilities can cut their energy bills in half by implementing more efficient technology in the form of pumps, motors, and control equipment — providing a quick return on investment (ROI) for the often higher capital costs associated with such equipment.

So why not? That’s the question of the day.

Please take to the comments section and let us know if you are indeed risk averse when it comes to new technology, and what would sway you from the “tried and true.” Would a labeling system play into your decision-making?