Glenn Barnes is a senior project director at the Environmental Finance Center based at the UNC School of Government.
Electricity rates have been a hot topic lately in North Carolina, especially for customers of Duke Energy. For small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the state, the Department of Energy provides resources to help them save on energy costs.
The DOE’s Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) provide eligible small- and medium-sized manufacturers with no-cost energy assessments. Additionally, they educate the next generation of energy managers.
There are 24 IACs around the country, all based at universities. Here in North Carolina, the Industrial Assessment Center is based at North Carolina State University. Faculty and advanced undergraduate and graduate students conduct free, one-day energy assessments of eligible manufacturing facilities. The assessment will examine potential savings from energy efficiency improvements, waste minimization, pollution prevention, and productivity improvement.
To qualify for this free energy assessment in North Carolina, manufacturers must meet at least three of these criteria:
- Have gross plant sales (at that location) of less than $75 million
- Have fewer than 500 employees on-site
- Have combined energy costs (electricity, gas, oil, coal, etc.) of between $100,000 and $2 million annually
- Have no full-time energy expertise
The IAC at North Carolina State has conducted 440 assessments since it was established in 1993. Their clients have implemented more than 1,400 of their recommendations from the assessments leading to more than $20 million in annual energy cost savings. Summary information on the assessments is available through an interactive map, and the IAC database collects all publicly available recommendation data and results from more than 15,000 assessments nationally.
Manufacturers can also read more than a dozen in-depth case studies of assessment success stories.
To schedule an assessment, interested manufacturers in North Carolina should contact Dr. Steve Terry at NC State’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering who directs the Industrial Assessment Center.