What to Expect at an IAC Assessment
If you are a small or mid-sized manufacturer in Georgia or North Florida, you may qualify for a no-cost assessment that will identify opportunities to help you save energy, reduce waste, and improve productivity. The assessments are done by staff and students from Georgia Tech, Florida State University, and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). On average, each assessment identifies opportunities to save more than 10% in annual energy expenditures.
Still wondering what type of a commitment it requires from you, what to expect, and what benefits you will receive if you participate? Read on to understand the process from start to finish. Then contact us to check your eligibility and schedule your assessment!
Step 1- Understand energy trends and make an energy balance.
After the company fills out a short application and provides some basic information, the IAC team takes the energy consumption information provided on past bills and equates that amount with major energy uses within the facility. Energy uses are the application of energy in the facility, typically through equipment and machines. This process, called an energy balance, helps the team focus their efforts to create impactful recommendations, estimate cost savings, and develop accurate payback periods for new investments. It also allows the team to gain a general understanding of the facility before the site visit.
Step 2- Discussion with plant manager or other designated company representative.
The site visit starts off with a brief meeting discussing the assessment procedure and what to expect. We then ask various questions about the facility based on the Georgia – North Florida IAC Application, such as:
- How many people are employed here?
- Is this a seasonal operation or do you operate year-round?
- What products do you make and how many production lines are there?
- What is the significant energy consuming equipment in the facility?
- When was your facility built?
- Do you have specific energy goals or initiatives already planned or being considered?
Step 3- Walk through of the entire facility and speak with facilities/maintenance personnel.
In this step our team inspects the facility to get a basic understanding of the manufacturing process and how the operation works. The team records information about:
- The manufacturing process and how equipment is utilized throughout the plant
- Nameplate ratings for major equipment
- Compressed air, lighting, HVAC, and other major equipment that consumes electrical energy
- Boilers, ovens, heaters, and other major fuel-consuming equipment
- Structural design in regard to energy use
During the walk through, our team will interview a representative from facilities and/or maintenance to help us gather more in-depth information about the machines and facility that could not be easily obtained during the walkthrough. We also ask about current maintenance schedules to understand what opportunities for improvement might be available through adjustments to your maintenance routine.
Step 4 – Meet as a team to discuss ideas and create an action plan for the rest of the day.
We regroup, discuss ideas, and research information that might be helpful as we complete the assessment. Then we create a plan for the rest of the assessment that will include more data collection and information gathering to help us develop cost-saving recommendations.
Step 5 – Data gathering.
The team uses data monitoring and measurement equipment to record information about potential opportunities. This could include any of the following:
- Logging electrical consumption of major equipment over the course of a week
- Logging temperature and humidity levels to determine the effectiveness of HVAC equipment
- Measuring temperatures of uninsulated equipment and pipes
- Sampling and analyzing exhaust gases to determine combustion efficiency
- Recording lighting levels throughout the facility
Step 6- Closing meeting and follow-up.
Finally, the team discusses observations with the plant manager and other staff members that were involved in the process and makes some initial recommendations based on what was observed in the plant. Then over the course of the next two months, the team will analyze the data to provide a comprehensive report to the company. The report includes an analysis of energy trends over the past year, a complete energy balance of the facility, and five to ten recommendations for reducing waste through energy and water consumption, as well as productivity improvements. Each recommendation includes a simple payback analysis tailored to the client’s requirements. Six to nine months after the report is delivered, the IAC team will follow up to find out if the recommendations were implemented and if the results were as expected.
The initial assessment takes about eight hours and within two months you receive an in-depth report with all your energy information in one place, recommendations from our team of energy experts, and even estimated cost and payback period for potential investments.
This program is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy to help small to mid-sized manufacturers achieve the same level of energy efficiency as large manufacturers; helping you save money, remain competitive, and grow your business.