The US Department of Energy (DOE) is providing $60 million (£43.4m) in funding to help small and medium sized manufacturers reduce their carbon emissions and lower energy costs by becoming more energy efficient.
The funding will be used by university-based Industrial Assessment Centres (IACs), which assist manufacturers in reducing their carbon footprint while training the next-generation of energy efficiency workers.
The new group of IACs at 32 universities will focus on improving productivity, enhancing cybersecurity, promoting resiliency planning and providing trainings located in disadvantaged communities as well as engage in a new pilot project to expand to the commercial building market.
Under the pilot, selected IACs will partner with community colleges and technical programmes to train students and professionals to conduct energy efficiency assessments of small and medium-sized buildings, including those located in disadvantaged communities.
To date, the IACs programme has provided nearly 20,000 no-cost assessments for small and medium-sized manufacturers and more than 147,000 recommendations for improvement measures, with assessments typically identifying more than $130,000 (£94,003) in potential annual savings.
Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said: “America’s best and brightest university students are successfully helping local manufacturers reduce pollution, save energy and cut their electricity bills.
“DOE’s university-based Industrial Assessment Centers are assisting small and medium-sized businesses – particularly those in disadvantaged and underrepresented communities – in the transition to a clean energy economy, building the next-generation energy workforce and propelling America toward a carbon-free future by 2050.”