UW News

November 20, 2008

Free energy assessments offered for 20 Seattle-area businesses

Energy experts from the UW want to help local businesses cut their utility bills.

The Industrial Assessment Center at UW is offering free energy assessments for small and medium local businesses. The center is now in its third year of providing assessments, and in the past two years has made recommendations that could save local companies on average nearly $64,000 a year.

The center is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and is one of 26 similar groups at universities around the country who provide free energy assessments to companies. In 2005, $5 million in funding returned more than $25 million in energy savings through these 26 universities, according to the DOE.

The group is now taking applications for 20 new assessments. To qualify, a business must meet three of the following four requirements:

  • Annual revenues lower than $100 million
  • Annual utility expenses between $100,000 and $3 million
  • Fewer than 500 employees
  • No staff dedicated solely to energy efficiency

Click here for a complete list of qualifications.

Students and faculty from the UW’s department of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering will perform the assessments. These assessments typically take one day, and will not interrupt the company’s normal work flow, said Andrew Martin, business undergraduate student and administrator of the center. After its visit, the team sends an energy savings report to the business. The group’s recommendations are specific to each company, Martin said, but past reports have included suggestions as diverse as revamping production methods to be more energy-efficient to pointing out an error on a utility bill that saved the company thousands of dollars yearly. Other money-saving tips included repairing leaks in air compressor systems and redesigning vacuum systems to use less energy.

Click here for more information on the University of Washington’s assessment team.