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Estimating the Carbon Footprint of the Municipal Water Cycle (PDF)

  • Author(s): Bakhshi, Ali A.; deMonsabert, Sharon M.
  • Publications: Journal - American Water Works Association
  • Issue Date: May 2012
  • Volume / Number: 104, Number 5
  • Page(s): E337-E347
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5942/jawwa.2012.104.0064
  • Product Number: JAW_0076011
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Abstract

This research investigated the embodied energy associated with municipal water use. The feasibility of using a geographic information system model as a framework for sustainability planning was evaluated using data from Loudoun County, VA. The model spatially displays the embodied energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with municipal water and wastewater service. The embodied energy associated with water service depends on the topographic characteristics of the municipality, the efficiency of the water and wastewater treatment systems, and the efficiency of the pumping stations. GHG emissions varied with the embodied-energy and energy-generation characteristics of the power company. Within the study area, the embodied energy associated with customer water use ranged from 4.4 to 7.2 MW·h/mil gal. Customer carbon footprints ranged from 0.01 to 17.93 tons of carbon dioxide per year. The results of this study contribute to the development of a standardized approach for estimating the GHG impact of the municipal water cycle.

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