Project Examples for Green Project Reserve (GPR)
Examples of potential GPR approved projects along with comments are located under the headings Water and/or Energy Savings, Environmental Innovation, and Green Infrastructure. Hopefully the comments are useful. They are not intended to be limiting.
A listing of potentially eligible GPR projects can also be seen in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency working document called FY 2010 DWSRF GPR Eligibility Quick Reference Guide 6-7-10 (Word Document 59KB/5 pages). The chart states which projects require business cases and which ones don’t. This information does not apply to Minnesota as business cases are required for all projects that will receive Minnesota GPR drinking water funding.
The Environmental Protection Agency has “Green Project Reserve Business Case Principles and Questions and Answers” at Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. Go to the 7th bullet point from the bottom in the “Documents” listing. This information was for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act but still remains useful, although not all examples and statements apply to Minnesota. Check with Chad Kolstad at email@example.com or at 651-201-3972 if you are not sure about project eligibility.
Business cases that are based on water or energy efficiency should if possible have those efficiencies (e.g., gallons of water or kilowatts of electricity saved) converted into current, annual dollar savings. First provide the assumptions and calculations that quantify the efficiencies. Next provide the current retail water or electricity rate and multiplying that times the anticipated annual water or energy savings to provide the annual dollar savings.
1a. New Water Meters for Previously Unmetered Service Connections
The project must consist of installing meters, reading them on a routine basis, and charging the user based on the amount of water used. Typically this information is determined after doing a water rate study. A Conservation Rate structure is recommended for all systems and is required by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for metered water systems serving more than 1,000 people. State the meter reading and billing frequency and billing rates, including base charges. Provide the total number of gallons of water pumped in an average year. Indicate the anticipated water use percentage reduction due to the water meter installation. Using this percentage and the annual water use, calculate the estimated water savings in gallons per year. Convert this to dollar savings by applying the lowest tier retail water rate.
1b. Replacing Manual Meter Reading on Automated Meter Reading System
Typically these projects save energy by eliminating the miles people drive to read meters. They also indirectly save water because people are charged for precisely what they use through properly calibrated and operating meters, or because customers receive up to date water use and cost information which encourages water conservation. These savings may or may not be significant compared to project cost.
Other elements that can or should be part of these projects are committing to monthly billing, implementing a water conservation rate structure, providing customers with internet access to real time water use, and providing routine public information about how the automated information can help customers monitor their water use to better conserve water.
The business case must identify what elements will be implemented to provide the water and/or energy savings, and those savings should be converted into annual dollar savings.
2a. Leaking or Frequently Breaking Water Main
The business case should state the system's unaccounted water use percentage, the total amount of water pumped the previous year or so, a map showing the location(s) of the water main to be replaced, and the locations and dates for recent water main breaks. Break data generally should be limited to the last three to five years. Estimate the anticipated annual water savings that will be realized after the water main replacement project is implemented. Make sure assumptions are stated.
Replacing water main should eliminate or greatly reduce the number of future water main repairs. Never-the-less, reduced repair costs including estimated wage, material, and overhead savings for each repair are not eligible for GPR consideration.
Water main replacement projects might include areas that have frequent breaks, few breaks, and no breaks. GPR consideration will only apply to the percentage of the overall project that has frequent breaks. Water main looping is not eligible for the GPR, nor is increasing the water main size (diameter), other than bringing it up to the six-inch diameter minimum standard.
2b. Replacing Constricted Water Main
Severely scaled or tuberculated water main or constructed main will reduce water flow and increase the energy required to move water through the line. Pictures taken by remote access technology or from removed pipe sections are useful but not required. Include a map showing the location of those area(s).
Flow data may come from actual readings or theoretical calculations. Provide the C-values for the current and replacement pipes, and indicate how the C-values were determined. Documentation should quantify the energy expenditure using the present main and the replacement main. Estimate the anticipated annual energy savings that will be realized by replacing the main, and convert those savings into annual dollar savings.
A water main replacement project might include areas that have blockage and/or significant tuberculation along with areas where those problems are undocumented or are relatively insignificant. GPR consideration will only apply to those sections of water main where significant blockage or tuberculation is documented.
3. Backwash Reclaim Basins
State the expected backwash frequency, water volume per backwash cycle, and estimated reclaim percentage. Calculate the number of gallons of water expected to be saved in a year. Convert that into dollar by applying the lowest retail water rate. Subtract the estimated cost for treating the saved water to come up with the total estimated annual dollar savings.
4. Variable Frequency Drives (VFD)
Include a description of how savings are expected to be achieved. Generally savings will occur because a motor will operate for some percentage of time at less than maximum load. Estimate that percentage of time and percentage of maximum load and state the supporting assumptions. Calculate the anticipated annual cost for electricity by multiplying kolowatt hours of electricity per horsepower times the amount of horsepower that is expected to be used by the motor. Multiply that number by the anticipated hours of operation per year, and multiply that figure by the expected cost per kilowatt-hour. Do the same calculations for the motor operating at full horsepower, and calculate the difference in cost, which will be the expected annual dollar savings.
Perhaps there will be a cost savings because a VFD will reduce the peak power surge when starting a motor, thereby reducing the peak electrical demand rate charged by the electrical utility. For these cases provide electrical rate documentation, state assumptions, and show calculations.
The use of VFD's for new plant construction will not be considered for GPR.
5. Motor and Pump Efficiency
Motors must meet National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Premium Efficiency Standards. The business case must include the nominal efficiency rating of the new motor and the motor being replaced. Estimate operating time and rationale for that estimate. Provide the estimated cost per kilowatt-hour, and convert the energy savings into annual dollar savings.
Energy savings might also be approved for replacing improperly sized pumps with pumps that most efficiently meet the system's designed flow rate. In the business case include the pump curve for the existing pump and the pump curve for the replacement pump. Calculate energy savings, and convert them to annual dollar savings.
Environmentally innovative projects might conserve energy or water, although they don't necessarily have to. When making a business case for the environmentally innovative category explain what makes the project unique or innovative, and in particular, why it should be considered GPR eligible. The project will be subjectively judged on those merits. Environmentally innovative projects may include projects that use alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, and biofuels, or energy conservation measures to reduce the total energy usage. It will be the discretion of the health department as to whether a project qualifies for the GPR. Please contact Chad Kolstad at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 651-201-3972 with questions about these types of projects.
Green infrastructure generally pertains to landscaping techniques or systems that reduce storm water runoff, irrigation demand, or that help aquifer recharge. One would expect these projects to be associated with clean water projects. This is usually true, but Green projects do qualify for drinking water funding if they are a specific feature of a drinking water facility For example, an eligible Green project might be for handling runoff water for a water treatment building or to provide low impact landscaping for it or provide alternative water for that landscaping. Eligibility only applies to the immediate water system facilities. It does not apply to extended watershed or source water protection areas, even if owned and maintained by the utility.
Examples of Green infrastructure projects include landscaping that significantly reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water, automatic drip irrigation systems tied in with a rain sensor, porous or pervious paving, rainwater harvesting cisterns, and roofs that utilizing plant cover.
A business case would describe the project, along with what it is intended to accomplish, and why it is considered a Green infrastructure project. The project would be subjectively judged on those merits.