We face the challenge of reducing energy consumption to make our cities more sustainable, and water and wastewater facilities are often the largest and most energy-intensive loads owned and operated by local governments, representing up to 35% of municipal energy use.
Capturing and reusing stormwater runoff on before it flows into surface waters allows its use onsite either to replenish groundwater supplies through infiltration or for graywater uses, like landscape irrigation and toilet flushing. These techniques are known as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), the central objective of which is to maintain individual sites’ pre-development hydrology. SuDS are common sense and simple technology, such as strategically placed beds of native plants, rain barrels, green roofs and porous surfaces for parking lots and roads. In addition to reducing energy and potable water use, the result is less water pollution from contaminated runoff, less flooding, replenished water supplies, and often more natural-looking, aesthetically pleasing cityscapes.
In summary, the use of SuDS reduces energy consumption in cities by:
- Reducing use of potable water, hence, energy consumed by acquisition -frequently by pumping- and treatment of drinking water, even higher where desalination is used and/or water imported
- Reducing stormwater inflow into sewer systems, hence, energy consumed by treatment of wastewater and pumping of surface and foul water
- Reducing local temperatures and shading building surfaces, hence lessen the cooling and heating demand for buildings, reducing energy needs and decreasing emissions from power plants
Improve energy efficiency
However, knowledge is very weak in MED cities where stormwater has been seen as a problem of waste and damage control. Additionally, data on energy consumption in the urban water cycle is rarely available and hard to find, so it is very difficult for local administrations and decision makers to account for energy efficiency aspects when deciding on different alternatives/solutions, especially water related.
Responding to these challenges, E²STORMED will promote the use of SuDS to improve energy efficiency in the urban water cycle and in buildings in MED cities, capitalizing outputs and results from previous projects and experiences of E²STORMED partnership (AQUAVAL and SWITCH EU projects, amongst others).
In order to address the critical issue of rolling out improved technologies, E²STORMED will improve, adapt, and test in MED cities, existing integrated management tools.