WINSTON — The Winston-Green Wastewater Treatment Plant has been saving energy and cutting costs since Energy Trust of Oregon helped upgrade its facility three years ago, according to a press release.
Since the upgrade, the treatment plant has been cutting carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 60 tons each year, using 133,500 fewer kilowatt hours of electricity annually — the equivalent of the amount of electricity used in 12 homes.
According to Energy Trust, the facility cut costs by almost $7,200 per year by replacing its outdated aeration blowers. These type of blowers, which can take up more than 50 percent of the energy used at wastewater treatment plants, provide oxygen to help break down compounds found in wastewater. The new equipment automatically senses and adjusts for dissolved oxygen.
Chris Sherlock, plant manager for the wastewater treatment plant, said the new blowers can ramp up or down based on need, while the old blowers were limited to one speed.
“So obviously if we’re running a motor at a slower speed we’re going to use less energy,” Sherlock said.
Sherlock said it had been time to upgrade the equipment, and the Energy Trust program saved the plant quite a bit of money.
The plant used a $40,552 cash incentive from Energy Trust to complete the $103,600 project. Energy Trust also studied the new technology compared to the old blowers before the installation.
Though the plant does not track the efficiency of each piece of its equipment, Energy Trust ran a 24-hour test before the blowers were replaced to get a baseline of how much energy was used, and then ran the same test with the new equipment to estimate the difference.
Sherlock said the information from Energy Trust was detailed and made it easy to decide to move forward with the replacement. This was the plant’s first process-related project with Energy Trust, and Sherlock said the plant will turn to the nonprofit again for future replacements and upgrades.
Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization meant to help utility customers save energy and generate renewable power. Its services, cash incentives and projects have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas and Avista save $2.7 billion on energy bills. Pacific Power serves the Winston-Green plant.
For more information, visit www.energytrust.org or call 1-866-368-7878.