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Once a manufacturing facility has been selected for an assessment visit, this procedure is followed:
PrevisitSite Visit Introductory Discussion Plant Tour Information/Data Gathering Assessment Review and Recommendation Development Wrap-up MeetingAfter the VisitFinal Report
Prior to a site visit, the IAC staff confirms that the facility is eligible for IAC Services by obtaining and reviewing the plant's four-digit SIC code, the number of employees, and the annual sales. Several pieces of information are requested from plant personnel including a plant layout drawing or blueprint, operating hours, shift information, building construction characteristics, plant environment control, and any available lists of major energy consuming equipment.
The plant is requested to supply a complete set of cost and quantity of consumption records for all forms of energy used at that location. This data is analyzed in advance of the plant visit. The cost and consumption data is graphically displayed to show various trends and peaks in usage, allowing for the identification of the times when energy savings is at its greatest (or least) potential.
Once a plant has been selected for an industrial assessment, and the preliminary information has been obtained and analyzed at the IAC, the next action is to conduct the actual site visit.
First, the assessment team headed by either the IAC Director or the Assistant Director, provide a brief description of the assessment process, and information about the IAC program. The preliminary information obtained on the plant (SIC codes, employees, sales, and energy costs) is verified, and the graphs of energy cost and consumption are shown. The plant representatives are then asked to discuss plant operations, process equipment, and various other energy-related matters. Also discussed are water costs, waste disposal costs, and other concerns that were identified in the pre-assessment analysis. Finally a brief description of the audit process is explained.
Following the initial meeting with plant personnel, the audit team is conducted on a plant tour in order to better understand the process, and to determine the flow of materials through the plant. Notes are made of specific operations or equipment identified during the tour which may have possible energy or waste saving potential.
Following the plant tour, the assessment team discusses areas of potential savings which have been identified. Each potential area is assigned to an individual on the team for further investigation and data collection. Measuring equipment is utilized to record pertinent quantitative information about the equipment in the plant. Further discussions with appropriate plant personnel about specific equipment or processes may also take place. In some cases, the plant personnel may be requested to assist in the actual measurements.
Combustion efficiency is measured for all major fuel-burning equipment. At a minimum, excess oxygen and stack temperature are measured in oil and gas boilers. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels are measured if necessary.
Efficiency and power factors of large motors and motor-driven equipment may be measured when there is reasonable, safe access to power conductors. Single-phase or three-phase measurements can be taken as appropriate to obtain the efficiencies and power factors. Similar measurements are taken when safe and practical for all other large, electrically powered equipment. Examples of such equipment include arc furnaces, electrolytic cells, infrared heaters, or induction heaters.
Other factors that affect energy consumption are measured including process temperatures, equipment temperatures, and working temperatures in various plant and office areas. Light levels are measured in most areas of the plant and offices. Air flow and ambient temperature are measured to determine efficiencies of HVAC systems throughout the plant.
Assessment Review and Recommendation Development
After the measurements have been completed, the members of the IAC audit team meet to compile their data, perform elementary analyses, and prepare preliminary recommendations based on the information collected. The focus of the Assessment Recommendations is to improve the plant's manufacturing processes, operations and waste management. Equipment modifications and replacements are considered, as well as potential changes in the plant operating schedule, or operational procedures.
Following the assessment review, the team again asks to meet with the plant representatives for an informal discussion of the audit procedure and any audit results obtained so far. At this meeting potential recommendations are discussed.
After the Visit
After the IAC staff has thoroughly analyzed and evaluated the plant operation and process equipment, additional suggestions for improvements may be made. The IAC staff also conducts research after the audit visit, to identify technological products or processes that could help make the particular plant's operation more efficient and cost-effective. The IAC staff then prepares a formal, Final Report to be sent to the manufacturing company. The report contains a description of the plant operation, equipment, energy costs, consumption patterns, and assessment recommendations together with detailed economic evaluations.
Two copies of the final report are sent to the manufacturing company within two months of the site visit. A copy of the Final Report, without the plant identification information, is also sent to Rutgers University for their review, suggestions, and final approval. Non-proprietary data from the report is entered into a U.S. DOE Database at Rutgers University.
Basic information on the plant and the assessment recommendations are contained in this database based on SIC code.