Purdue University’s Industrial Assessment Center helps small and medium businesses improve efficiency

Posted on Mar 25 2024 in Energy
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By David Toll

When it comes to energy efficiency, the more you know, the better. The Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) at Purdue University in Indianapolis is doing its part to make businesses more knowledgeable.

As one of just 37 IACs on college campuses nationwide and the only one in Indiana, the Department of Energy-funded center has been filling an important role since 2011, approaching 200 energy audits on small- to medium-sized businesses.

The IAC was launched with $1.3 million in Department of Energy funding, has earned two renewal awards since, and was recently given a grant of $100,000 per year over a four-year period to expand energy assessments in a 150-mile radius around the city of Indianapolis.

The IAC program aims to help businesses save energy, improve productivity, and reduce waste by providing no-cost technical assessments from a team of skilled students under the direction of an engineering faculty with energy audit credentials. Taking the lead is Dr. Jie Chen, IAC director and chair of mechanical and energy engineering.

These assessments result in recommendations for energy efficiency, potential savings, implementation estimates, and payback times on investments.

That helps connect these small- to medium-sized businesses to the IAC Implementation Grants Program, which offers grant awards of up to $300,000 per manufacturer at a 50% cost share.

These programs, and additional funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, aim to grow the IAC program to create high-quality jobs, a skilled manufacturing workforce, and more competitive U.S. manufacturing. There is plenty more for everyone to know and learn about energy efficiency.

David Toll is vice president – administration and member engagement at RushShelby Energy in Manilla, Indiana.