WVU energy efficiency program focused on industry improvements nets national recognition

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August 15, 2011 by University Relations/News

Morgantown, W.Va. — A West Virginia University initiative focused on helping businesses become more energy efficient is one of only four organizations in the U.S. to receive a Champion of Energy Efficiency award from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

Industries of the Future – West Virginia, based at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy, was recognized at the Council’s Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry meeting July 27 in Niagra, NY.

WVU’s Carl Irwin, IOF-WV director, accepted the award on behalf of the IOF-WV team.

“The IOF-WV mission is to facilitate research and assessment projects that help companies with efficient and sustainable use of energy, a key element in the future of West Virginia’s manufacturing companies,” said Irwin. “We have benefitted over the years from our association with ACEEE and I hope IOF-WV can live up to what this award represents.”

Irwin has been director of the program since its inception and, with Jeff Herholdt, director of the West Virginia Division of Energy, has made the program into a leader in the push for more energy efficient manufacturing.

“Jeff managed an energy efficiency program as part of the West Virginia Development Office back in 1997 when he and I started IOF-WV,” Irwin said. “He became director of the state’s Division of Energy when it was created five years ago. IOF-WV would not have been around all these years without Jeff’s advice, cooperation and support.”

Herholdt said that, with the rising costs of energy and increased foreign competition for manufactured goods, “we jumped at the opportunity to develop a state version of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national level Industries of the Future program. Such partnerships with industry are key components of our industrial retention efforts.”

Kathleen Cullen, IOF-WV program coordinator, said the ACEEE award recognizes the WVU program for leadership and persistence in delivering exemplary energy efficiency programs to industrial customers, and serving as a role model and mentor for other state industrial efficiency program.

“I’m proud of the efforts we’ve put into making IOF-WV successful and think everyone involved with the program deserves the recognition that comes with receiving such a prestigious award,” said Ms. Cullen.

Ed Crowe, IOF-WV engineering scientist, has been with IOF-WV for four years.

“As part of the IOF-WV team, I have obtained much satisfaction from helping West Virginia manufacturers gain competitive advantages through adoption of energy efficiency technologies and practices” he said. “It is especially gratifying for me to be able to help establish IOF-WV as a leader in new and growing initiatives such as energy management certification.”

Dr. Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan, director of WVU’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC), was an Energy Efficiency Research Fellow with IOF-WV for the past three years.

“I am proud that the IOF-WV and IAC programs have worked together to implement energy efficiency projects at plants such as Steel of WV and PPG Industries, and to see WVU students start careers in industrial energy efficiency,” Gopalakrishnan said.

During the last 14 years, IOF-WV R&D projects, assessments, and workshops have involved numerous WVU faculty members, national laboratory scientists and approximately 250 companies, generating more than $18.4 million annually in energy savings and training more than 500 people in energy efficiency best practices.

NRCCE and IOF-WV are associated with WVU’s Advanced Energy Initiative, the University’s arm for coordinating and promoting research in science, technology and public policy. AEI brings together a network of more than 100 energy researchers from four colleges and more than twenty centers for energy research advances. AEI seeks to enable West Virginia to create new energy technology opportunities though discovery, engagement and innovation.

-NRCCE-

CONTACT:  Carl Irwin, (304) 293-7318