Urban water and energy sustainability

Our current and recent projects on urban water and energy sustainability:

Characterizing the sustainability and embedded energy of the urban water cycle

The urban water Basic RGBcycle does not just include direct fluxes of water; it also requires inputs of indirect or embedded water in resources such as food and energy. Accounting for these indirect and direct fluxes of water and its embedded energy provides opportunities for water and energy benchmarking at the urban scale. Our work provides comparative sustainability analyses of urban environments across the United States.

-G.M. Bethke, A.R. Cohen, A.S. Stillwell. (2021). “Disaggregating residential sector high-resolution smart water meter data into appliance end-uses with unsupervised machine learning.” Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology. Advance Article.
– C.M. Chini and A.S. Stillwell. (2020). “One Model Does Not Fit All: Bottom-Up Indicators of Residential Water Use Provide Limited Explanation of Urban Water Fluxes.” Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment, 6(3), 04020011.
– A.G. Hastie, C.M. Chini, and A.S. Stillwell. (2020). “A mass balance approach to urban water analysis using multi-resolution data.” Journal of Industrial Ecology, in press.
– C.M. Chini and A.S. Stillwell. (2020). “Envisioning Blue Cities: Urban Water Governance and Water Footprinting.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 146(3), 0402001.
– C.M. Chini and A.S. Stillwell. (2019). “The metabolism of U.S. cities 2.0.” Journal of Industrial Ecology, 23(6), 1353-1362.
– R.B. Sowby, S.J. Burian, C.M. Chini, and A.S. Stillwell. (2019). “Data Challenges and Solutions in Energy-for-Water: Experience from Two Recent Studies.” Journal: American Water Works Association, 111(2), 28-33.
– C.M. Chini and A.S. Stillwell. (2018). “The State of U.S. Urban Water: Data and the Energy-Water Nexus.” Water Resources Research, 54(3), 1796-1811.
– C.M. Chini, M. Konar, and A.S. Stillwell. (2017). “Direct and indirect urban water footprints of the United States.” Water Resources Research, 53(1), 316-327.
– C.M. Chini and A.S. Stillwell. (2017). “Where Are All the Data? The Case for a Comprehensive Water and Wastewater Utility Database.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 143(3), 01816005.

Sponsor: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, CEE Research Experience for Undergraduates Program

Urban water resource vulnerability of the food-energy-water nexus

The spatial and temporal variability of available water resources strongly influences water stress across the country. Water is not only used for drinking and irrigation, but is also embedded in the supply chains of food, fuel, and electricity.  By quantifying the spatial vulnerability of cities’ water resources, we seek to find critical locations of water flows and assist decision makers in resource allocation and policy implementation.

– L.A. Djehdian, C.M. Chini, L. Marston, M. Konar, and A.S. Stillwell. (2019). “Exposure of Food-Energy-Water (FEW) Systems to Water Scarcity.” Sustainable Cities and Society, 50(1), 101621.

Sponsor: AWWA Larson Aquatic Research Support Scholarship

Quantifying the energy-water nexus in the residential sector

An essential component of the urban environment is the residential household. Appliances and fixtures within the home consume water and energy both directly and indirectly. Our work evaluates the
benefits of upgrading to ENERGY STAR or WaterSense appliances in terms of both direct and indirect energy and water savings. This study provides opportunities for conservation programs both at the home and city or utility level.ResidentialEWNpicforwebsite

– C.M. Chini, K.L. Schreiber, Z.A. Barker, and A.S. Stillwell. (2016). “Quantifying Energy and Water Savings in the U.S. Residential Sector.” Environmental Science & Technology, 50(17), 9003-9012.

Sponsor: Siebel Energy Institute

Modeling and prediction of watershed-scale dynamics of water reuse for power plant cooling

Water reuse can be a RW4PPsustainable solution for areas with significant non-potable water demand. Cooling power plants with reclaimed water is one such sustainable solution, with different benefits and tradeoffs for local and regional water users. In our work regarding water reuse for power plant cooling, we model local and regional watershed-scale dynamics due to consumption of reclaimed water.

– Z.A. Barker and A.S. Stillwell. (2016). “Implications of Transitioning from De Facto to Engineered Water Reuse for Power Plant Cooling.” Environmental Science & Technology, 50(10), 5379-5388. Mentioned in Science.

Sponsor: Illinois Water Resources Center

water · energy · policy