A few studies I've seen investigating the energy intensity of water use in the US specifically enumerate the energy use of chilling*.

  1. Where in the system does most of that happen?
  2. How common/for what purpose does it usually happen on site at residences of people on city water, if at all?
  3. In the US, is my municipal water system likely to be chilling the water, and if so would studies normally include that in the energy consumption of the pumping/treatment infrastructure?

*edit: per LShaver, here are some studies pointing to chilling as important: 1 (refers to "cooling"), 2 (refers to "chilling")

  • Can you link one or two of the studies?
    – LShaver
    Sep 28, 2020 at 16:30
  • Thanks! Good idea.
    – capet
    Sep 28, 2020 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


Nutshell answer: Residential use: nil.

Commercial use: Significant. Any reasonably large building has a larger problem getting rid of extra heat compared to heating. All those lights and photo-copiers add up.

Many commercial buildings and large facilities like University campuses will buy power when it's cheap at night and use it to chill water or brine. This is used during the day to cool off the building.

Heat pumps are used to move heat from water storage tanks to the air. Cooler air at night makes the heat pumps more efficient. However: Water is not used up. The same water is reused indefinitely, barring small losses (leaks)

I don't know of a situation where a muni would chill distributed water. However the University I worked at had a central power plant that would chill brine and pump it all over campus for cooling during the day. The same system was used to heat the buildings during the chilly parts of the year.

  • Thanks a lot!!!
    – capet
    Oct 29, 2020 at 2:18

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