DOE Workshop at Brookhaven Explains Industrial Assessment Centers
September 22, 2005
Companies needing expert, low-cost advice about improving the energy efficiency of their operations have long been served by the network of the Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program at universities nationwide.
Said Robert Gordon, Director of Business Management at DOE's Brookhaven Site Office, "The IAC program provides eligible small and medium-sized private-sector manufacturers with no-cost energy assessments. Additionally, the IACs serve as a training ground for the next generation of energy-savvy engineers. Currently, DOE supports 26 IACs, which companies may consult."
To extend the program, in October, DOE will solicit proposals from ABET-accredited universities—those accredited by ABET, Inc. for programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology—wishing to become a designated center. The process is expected to be highly competitive, and regional applicant workshops are being conducted to familiarize faculty from interested college and universities with the operation of an Industrial Assessment Center.
One such workshop was held at Brookhaven National Laboratory on August 15-17, coordinated by Robert Hall, Director of Research and Development programs for the Center for Environmental & Energy Partnership, Inc. Representatives from ten universities attended, including Hofstra University and New York Institute of Technology on Long Island. Participants learned how IACs work: teams composed of engineering faculty and students from the centers are sent out to conduct energy audits or industrial assessments and provide recommendations to manufacturers to help them identify opportunities to improve productivity, reduce waste, and save energy. In addition, one full day of the workshop was spent on site at a local manufacturing facility, Precision Engraving of Amityville, where the workshop instructor from the IAC at Texas A&M University demonstrated an energy assessment.
A special September 2005 issue of Scientific American, titled, "Crossroads for Plant Earth," focuses on the need for planning to ensure environmental sustainability and prosperity worldwide despite growing populations and exhaustible resources.
Commented Gordon, "The aims and achievements of IACs certainly appear to fit into the ‘Crossroads for Planet Earth' picture. Since they started in 1976, IACs have provided over 9,800 assessments to private-sector clients, and recommendations from industrial assessments have averaged about $55,000 in potential energy savings for each manufacturer. We hope that more IACs will help manufacturers make more savings in both resources and dollars in the future."
For more information on Industrial Assessment Centers, visit the web site at www.eere.energy.gov/industry/bestpractices/iacs.html.
Written by Liz Seubert. Reprinted with permission from the Bulletin, Vol. 59, No. 32, September 16, 2005, published by Brookhaven National Laboratory.