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Des Moines Water Works Becomes Only U.S. Water Utility to Receive National, International Recognition for Energy Management Standards

Des Moines Water Works Recognition

October 27, 2021

Header image courtesy of dmmw.com.

At Des Moines Water Works, we take our role seriously in advocating to be good stewards of the environment and our limited available resources. This includes being a leader when it comes to energy management standards, both nationally and internationally.

Recently, Des Moines Water Works became the only water utility in the nation to have all of its water treatment plants — Fleur Drive, Saylorville and L.D. McMullen — certified to ISO 50001 and SEP 50001 Gold, per a review and audit that included review by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Superior Energy Performance (SEP) group. Previously, only the Fleur Drive water treatment plant was ISO 50001 certified in 2017.

Energy Savings Efforts

We are working hard to manage costs, and the steps we have taken toward greater energy efficiency have resulted in both energy savings and fewer dollars spent.

Based on Department of Energy calculations, DMWW has reduced its total CO2 emissions by almost 26,000 metric tons in the four years that ended December 2020. During that same time period, DMWW has reduced its overall energy intensity by more than 10%, saving the utility $830,400 on electricity, natural gas, LP, gasoline and diesel fuel.

Managing our energy use is one of the many responsibilities we have to you, our customers. ISO 50001 certification shows we are doing it at the highest level.

The ISO 50001 recognition is an international standard created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Its standards are reviewed by international experts in their subject matter and specify requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system to continually improve energy performance in the areas of efficiency, security, use and consumption.

SEP 50001 has three levels: silver, gold and platinum. Once an organization receives ISO 50001 certification, it can receive SEP 50001 certification and then submit a scorecard to rank higher based on measurement and verification of its energy performance.

DMWW also has entered the 2021 Energy Management Leadership Awards contest. This is an international competition that recognizes leading organizations for sharing high-quality, replicable descriptions of their ISO 50001 implementation and certification process. We excitedly await that announcement later this month.

We have implemented energy savings efforts across the board at Des Moines Water Works. A few of our efforts include:

  • Installation of variable speed drives on energy intensive high service pumps, backwash pumps and nitrate pumps
  • Installation of occupancy sensors, automatic overhead doors and other automated energy-saving equipment
  • Conversion of all indoor and outdoor lighting to LED lights at all of our facilities • Replacement of end-of-life equipment with high-efficiency equipment
  • Improving insulation on hot water and steam pipes, and exterior doors and in buildings
  • Development of idling guidelines for utility vehicles

These projects and many others align perfectly with our mission and our values related to leadership, stewardship and employee experience. Every DMWW employee can be proud of these accomplishments because so many of them are involved in the day-to-day implementation of the practices.

We continue to look for ways to improve our stewardship of the resources we share. We have a responsibility to our 600,000 customers throughout Greater Des Moines (DSM) to use resources wisely, to provide value in service and to limit our impact on the environment.

“Think Downstream” is a phrase we use often at Des Moines Water Works. It’s a forward-thinking notion we have adopted within our utility to ensure we are considering off-site impacts, future generations and long-term implications as we strive to meet the water needs of our growing customer base.

Limiting our carbon footprint by reducing our energy intensity, is just one way we think downstream. We encourage everyone to “Think Downstream” as we build for a stronger DSM of the future.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) has one of the best business climates in the country. The region is nationally recognized for having a talented and educated workforce, a cost of doing business 13% below the national average, a low cost of living and an exceptional quality of life.

Ted Corrigan

Ted Corrigan is CEO & General Manager for Des Moines Water Works. His 30-year career with the utility has included leadership roles in Engineering, Water Production, and Water Distribution, before becoming Chief Operating Officer and now CEO.