The Ontario Power Authority has granted a consortium of local researchers and energy professionals $99,800 to link water and electricity conservation incentives.

The Sustainable Energy Applied Research Centre (SEARC) at St. Lawrence College is partnering with Utilities Kingston and the Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy (QIEEP) on this initiative.

The six-month project will determine how much electricity is used to transport and treat water and wastewater in Kingston Hydro’s electricity distribution territory. It will also identify a number of cost-effective water conservation measures that could be implemented in local businesses and institutions.

“Electricity for transporting and treating water and sewage is the single largest municipal energy expenditure. Each time a cubic metre of water is saved by one of our customers, Utilities Kingston reduces its consumption of electricity and its long-term infrastructure costs,” says Utilities Kingston conservation officer Stephen Sottile. “This project will determine if there is a cost-effective opportunity for stacking existing provincial electricity conservation incentives with Utilities Kingston’s water conservation incentives, allowing us to offer more attractive conservation incentives for investments that save customers and the utility money while reducing our environmental impact.”

“SEARC and St. Lawrence College are proud to be a part of this project, which aligns with the College’s focus on community leadership and the promotion of environmental sustainability,” said Gordon C. MacDougall, Interim president & CEO of St. Lawrence College. “The resulting strategies for water and electricity conservation have the potential to not only benefit our local community in Kingston, but communities across Ontario as well.”

The project team includes students in the Energy Systems Engineering Technology program at St. Lawrence College, led by SEARC lead researcher Adegboyega Babasola. The team is being supported in their efforts by IndEco Strategic Consulting Inc. The project is funded by a grant from the OPA Conservation Fund, SEARC’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funded grant, funding and in-kind support from Utilities Kingston, and in-kind contributions from QIEEP. The total cost of the project is over $150,000.

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