Industrial Assessment Center

Free assistance for manufacturers to reduce their energy and resource costs

The Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst conducts energy and resource assessments for small to mid-sized manufacturing facilities. As one of 24 regional centers supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, our service comes with no cost or obligation.

Our team reviews your utility bills and conducts a site visit, and then we provide a confidential report with specific, impartial and cost-effective recommendations to improve energy efficiency, reduce pollution and waste, and lower operating costs in your facility.

For more information on the IAC program or centers in other areas, visit the Department of Energy's website.

Eligibility

If your facility meets these criteria, set by DOE, you may be eligible for a no-cost industrial assessment:
  • Within Standard Industrial Codes (SIC) 20-39
  • Located within approximately 150 miles of UMass Amherst
  • Gross annual sales below $100 million
  • Fewer than 500 employees at the plant site
  • Annual energy bills more than $100,000 and less than $2.5 million
  • No professional in-house staff to perform the assessment

Assessment Process

Assessments are conducted by a team of engineering graduate students, under the leadership of IAC Director and Mechanical Engineering Professor Beka Kosanovic, who has three decades of experience in industrial energy efficiency.

After confirming a client's eligibility and scheduling an assessment, we request the following information from plant personnel:

  • Energy and water bills for the most recent 12 months available
  • Operating schedules
  • Plant layout drawings or blueprints
  • List of major energy consuming equipment, if available
In advance of our site visit, we analyze the utility bills to identify trends, peaks in usage, and key areas to review on site.

Our site visit begins with a meeting with plant personnel, such as an engineering or facilities manager, in which we ask for a description of plant operations, processes, equipment, any specific areas of interest or concern, and goals for the assessment. Then we ask plant personnel to walk us through the facility and explain the manufacturing process and flow of materials, while we note areas that may have energy efficiency or waste reduction potential. Our team then returns to specific equipment and processes to collect additional details and data. We bring extensive metering and diagnostic equipment to measure operating characteristics such as electricity use, combustion efficiency, power factor, air flow, process temperature, ambient temperature, and light levels. We conclude the site visit with another brief meeting with plant personnel to discuss our findings so far and outline potential recommendations. Our team typically spends one day on site, but two days may be scheduled for certain facilities.

After the site visit, our team researches and analyzes both technical and financial factors for each recommendation, and then develop estimates for implementation cost and annual cost savings.

Assessment Report

Within two months after our site visit, we send a detailed, confidential report to clients. The report describes each recommendation, including estimates for annual energy and cost savings, emissions reductions, implementation cost, and simple payback period. Recommendations may include modification or replacement of equipment, updates to maintenance procedures, or adjustments to operating schedules. The report also includes background information on plant operation, major equipment, energy costs, and usage patterns.

Follow-up

The IAC team follows up with clients within six months after delivering the assessment report. We ask which recommendations have been implemented, which are still under consideration, and the reasons for not implementing the remaining recommendations. For recommendations that have been implemented, we ask for the actual implementation cost and any available data or projections on savings. This information is critical for DOE to track the results of the IAC program, as well as to inform and improve our center's future work.

Confidentiality

We understand the sensitive nature of some information collected for our assessment, and we are careful to maintain our clients' privacy. The raw data collected on site and full assessment report are confidential.

Each IAC is required to annually submit a list of clients to the Department of Energy for internal use. We also submit assessment recommendation data, without company name or location, to the IAC field management team at Rutgers University, which enters selected information on each assessment into the IAC Database.

We may ask some clients to participate in case studies to promote the IAC program and highlight the company's efforts to improve their efficiency. We will only publish identifying details such as company name and location with the client's written permission.

Benefits and Success Stories

Since 1984, the UMass IAC has conducted more than 750 assessments for a wide range of manufacturing facilities across New England. In the past 10 years, our clients have implemented more than three of our recommendations on average, with an average simple payback period of only 1.5 year. As a result, they have reduced their annual operating costs by $55,000 and carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 150 tons.

Our assessment requires a minimal time commitment from plant personnel and is provided through the U.S. Department of Energy at no cost.

These charts summarize the type of implemented recommendations and associated cost savings:

Here are some of our recent success stories:

  • Ball Corporation saves $215,000/year by implementing all of UMass IAC's recommendations.
    In 2011, our team conducted an assessment of Ball’s Saratoga, NY facility, which manufactures aluminum beverage cans. We recommended seven energy savings measures, six of which had projected simple payback periods of two years or less. The company implemented all of our recommendations, resulting in total annual savings of approximately $215,000.

  • Osram-Sylvania saves $178,000/year by implementing UMass IAC recommendations.
    Thanks to our assessment in 2007, Osram-Sylvania staff found that several pieces of equipment in their Central Falls, Rhode Island facility were operating out of range or operating needlessly. Based on our recommendations, the company made modifications to their equipment that resulted in annual savings of nearly $178,000, with an overall simple payback period of under one year.

  • A food processing facility in Vermont saves $60,000/year by implementing all of UMass IAC's recommendations.
    In our assessment of the facility, a team of students and faculty considered the efficiency of manufacturing processes, reviewed all large energy-consuming equipment, compiled a waste inventory, and investigated the potential for waste reduction and improved disposal or recycling methods. The company decided to implement all nine of our recommendations, including process improvements, modifications to the HVAC and compressed air systems, and lighting upgrades and occupancy sensors. These measures will result in annual savings of more than $60,000.

  • A fabricated metals manufacturer reduces its energy costs by more than 15%.
    In 2014, the UMass IAC conducted an assessment for a fabricated metal product manufacturer in southern New England. Within a year, the client implemented five of our eight recommendations, including eliminating leaks in their compressed air system, optimizing the plant's power factor, and installing more efficient lighting. The total annual savings of $45,000 reduces the plant's energy costs by more than 15%.

Sign Up

If your facility meets the eligibility criteria listed above, contact Dr. Beka Kosanovic to apply for an assessment by email or at 413-545-0684