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What an Assessment Might look like


Assessment Timeline 

1. Preliminary information: By telephone or email
2. Billing information: A pdf via email or surface-mailed to IAC by the client (for twelve months of electricity, natural gas, and water bills)
3. Plant visit:  Requires one day (two days for large site)
4. Assessment report:  Within 60 days of site visit
5. Implementation survey:    Performed approximately one year after the report is issued

Pre-Visit Preparation

Preliminary Information

Preliminary information supplied by the client includes copies of most recent 12 months of electricity, natural gas, and water bills. The IAC team member prepares energy use profiles and conducts any necessary library research, analyzes various production processes, identifies potential energy conservation, pollution prevention, and productivity improvement opportunities, and determines what further data are needed. A simple map of the plant and a list of the larger, more significant equipment is useful to plan what data should be collected, and thus what measurement equipment should be brought by the team on the plant visit.


Safety is a primary concern to the IAC program. Typically, each IAC team member wears steel-toed shoes, safety glasses, and earplugs for manufacturing environments. Hardhats may be required for certain manufacturing plants. Please notify the assessment lead student, before the visit, regarding hardhat or other special safety requirements.

Security Clearances

If the manufacturing facility requires that all team members meet special security requirements, the client should notify the lead student at least one week before the visit date. For example, if the facility requires background checks or other status criteria for all visitors, the IAC staff needs to prepare for this well in advance.


Plant Visit

An initial meeting is held between the IAC team members and the plant representatives who will participate in the assessment. The purpose of this meeting is to explain the services being offered, review the energy profiles and bills, obtain background information, and define other data needed for the assessment.

Energy Efficiency

During the visit, the IAC team tours the plant in search of the most significant energy streams. The team then identifies energy conservation opportunities for these energy streams. Measurements are taken to quantify current energy use and identify practices. These data are used to calculate estimates of energy use and cost savings in the final report.

Pollution Prevention

During the visit, a team of OSU faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students tour the plant to follow production flows from raw materials to finished products. The IAC team identifies the most significant waste streams, quantifies the volumes of waste generated, and calculates the associated waste management costs. The team then analyzes possible waste prevention opportunities.


  • Infrared Camera

    Infrared cameras are designed to sense different amounts of infrared energy emitted from hot surfaces of operating equipment at a plant. Heat is always a byproduct of electrical, mechanical, and heat treatment processes.


    Infrared thermography helps identify hot surfaces, which when insulated, reduce energy consumption by reducing heat loss to the surrounding atmosphere through convection and radiation. It is also useful in locating loose electrical connections and helps to profile plant facilities.

  • Data Loggers

    These data loggers accept a wide range of energy sensors. When mounted on electrical wires feeding motors, they can be programmed to record the current or voltage input over the operating time, which will help identify the energy use pattern, duty cycle, and other operational variables.


    They can often reveal hidden energy waste that is normally not noticeable by plant staff.

  • Combustion Analyzer

    This assists in discovering combustion parameters such as amount of excess air, amount of CO2, stack temperature, and combustion efficiency for various natural gas/oil-fired combustion equipment such as boilers and furnaces.


    This analysis helps in figuring out energy waste and in determining optimum settings for the energy-efficient operation of burners, ovens, water heaters, furnaces, and heat-treating equipment.

  • Light Meter

    A light meter is used to check light levels in various parts of the facility and to identify over-illuminated and under-illuminated areas. Significant savings are possible by adjusting light levels in over-lighted areas of the facility as well as installing more efficient lighting upgrades. On the other hand, better lighting in poorly illuminated areas can improve quality and increase productivity.



Following the plant visit, the IAC team spends time researching, evaluating, and developing the recommendations. If additional information is needed, further communication will be made with plant personnel, and additional data may be requested. The most cost-effective assessment recommendations (ARs) are combined in a final assessment report that is sent to the client and to the US Department of Energy’s technical field manager, the Center for Advanced Energy Systems (CAES), at Rutgers University in New Jersey.


The report quantifies current energy and waste management costs and recommends specific opportunities for energy conservation, waste prevention, and productivity improvement. Also included are savings calculations, estimated implementation cost estimates, and payback periods for the recommended actions. In addition, reductions associated with greenhouse gas emissions are estimated.


About one year following the assessment, the client is contacted with survey questions by phone and/or e-mail to determine the extent to which the recommendations have been implemented. Any recommendation which the plant intends to implement within two years following the final assessment report date is considered. IAC staff will also ask questions to understand how well the content of the report has met the needs of the client. In addition, any use of the recommendations by sister plants or other business contacts will be noted for their benefits to overall energy savings.

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