OSU's industrial energy efficiency program to double
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
A new grant will expand the work of the Oregon State University's Energy Efficiency Center. Students here examine a fan during a field inspection.
Oregon State University's Energy Efficiency Center received a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy that will allow the school to double the size of the program.
The 24-year-old program trains students in energy efficiency while providing Oregon companies with free assessments of their energy use and potential areas of improvement.
"It's a time commitment but there's no cash commitment," said Joe Junker, director of the program, which is based in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at OSU.
"This new grant is helping us ramp up not just the assessments we're doing, but the results of having students do this work, which is great grounding for them professionally," Junker said.
OSU officials estimate that the Energy Efficiency Center has saved Oregon businesses $88 million during the life of the program.
The center is also receiving an additional $35,000 from the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center, known as Oregon BEST.
The efficiency assessments offered by the center help companies save an average of $70,000 or more per year in energy costs.
About four more faculty members from the OSU College of Engineering will become involved in the program through the new funding. In addition, the program will upgrade its online assessment tools and involve more students.
The center expanded its work with agricultural businesses last year under a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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