training

IAC Helps Manufacturers While Providing Training

vocational_trainingThe Industrial Assessment Center (IAC), which has two key goals, seems to be growing.

The IAC was started by the Department of Commerce under a different name in 1976. It now is run by the Department of Energy, according to The Daily Reveille, the news site for Louisiana State University.

The story says that in December LSU received a grant for $1.5 million and has agreed to be in the program for five years. Both sides stand to benefit:

The students and faculty in the program connect with small to medium sized businesses in the area and provide a start-to-finish audit of the facility’s energy consumption. Audits include pre-assessment meetings, an on-site assessment and a post-assessment recommendation.

The IAC is comprised of universities across the country that perform energy audits to local businesses. The goal is to help these firms to save money by operating more efficiently and training engineering students for work in related fields after they graduate.

The story says that the DoE claims the program typically finds $130,000 in potential savings for each manufacturer audited. Almost $50,000 of these opportunities are implemented during the first year after the audit.

The Exponent Telegram, a news site focusing on north central West Virginia, posted a story today extolling the virtues of the program. There are several ways in which a small business saves. The first, of course, is that the suggestions made by the audit can lead to less energy use. Secondly, companies get very inexpensive audits. The story says that the $3,000 cost can be cut to $125 through grants that available in the state. Finally, the audit is the road to financing:

Using the detailed report generated after the audit, businesses can apply for financial assistance through the USDA guaranteed loan and Rural Energy for America Program to make any necessary efficiency improvements.

Last month, The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office announced funding to as much as $4 million for projects. The press release has good background on the program, which is aimed at medium- and small-sized manufacturers with annually energy bills between $100,000 and $2.5 million.

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