Lehigh is one of 32 universities conducting industrial assessments to help local manufacturers reduce carbon footprint

Lehigh University’s Industrial Assessment Center received support this week from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers in reducing their carbon emissions and lowering energy costs, while training the next generation of energy-efficiency workers.

DOE announced $60 million in funding for its largest-ever cohort of university-based Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs). The groundbreaking investment will help remove barriers to decarbonization across the manufacturing sector and advance the Biden Administration’s goal of achieving a clean energy economy.

“America’s best and brightest university students are successfully helping local manufacturers reduce pollution, save energy, and cut their electricity bills,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “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.”

student conducting site visit

IAC assessments are performed by a team consisting of a Lehigh faculty member and upper-level undergraduate and graduate engineering students. During a site visit, students take measurements to audit the facility's use of energy and resources.

Lehigh is one of 32 universities that will focus on improving productivity, enhancing cybersecurity, promoting resiliency planning, and providing training to entities located in disadvantaged communities. The cohort will also engage in a new pilot project to expand to the commercial building market. As part of the pilot, selected IACs will partner with community colleges and technical programs to train diverse students and professionals to conduct energy-efficiency assessments of small- to medium-sized buildings, including those located in disadvantaged communities. 

Lehigh University's Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) provides industrial assessment service to small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The goals of the LUIAC are to recommend measures to conserve energy, reduce waste, and enhance productivity. By accomplishing these goals, the LUIAC improves the overall cost competitiveness of the companies it serves.

“Manufacturing is seeing rapid change due to application of new methods like 3-D printing and new approaches from data science and analytics. Lehigh has many outstanding faculty working to innovate and advance manufacturing through research and training programs,” said Nathan Urban, Lehigh’s provost and senior vice president of academic affairs and interim president. “IAC’s specific mission of enhancing sustainability for small- to medium-sized companies is critical to the continued vitality of this important sector of the regional economy. We are proud to be part of this national program of leading universities. We appreciate the continued support for research and education at Lehigh by Representative [Susan] Wild and her role in helping promote opportunities for economic development and innovation in the Lehigh Valley."

Read the full story in the Lehigh University News Center.

“For over 20 years, the Lehigh Industrial Assessment Center has been educating the next generations of energy engineers,” said Alparslan Ozetkin, a professor in the department of mechanical engineering and mechanics and director of the Lehigh IAC. “We are proud to forward the IAC missions to save energy, reduce the carbon footprint for small- and medium-sized manufacturing plants, and train an energy-efficiency workforce. Lehigh’s IAC graduates PhD and master’s students, as well as offers undergraduate and graduate-level Energy Efficiency Practicum. We are pleased to be part of this latest cohort and look forward to continuing this work with DOE’s support.”

Alparslan Oztekin

Mechanical engineering and mechanics professor Alparslan Oztekin directs the Lehigh Industrial Assessment Center.