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The University of Alabama

Companies Recognized for Energy Savings Garnered From UA’s AIAC

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Recently, President Barack Obama ordered federal agencies to cut building costs by the end of fiscal year 2012 as vital energy resources are being wasted. While he is supporting green initiatives on a national scale, The University of Alabama’s Alabama Industrial Assessment Center is putting these efforts into play throughout the state.

At least six Alabama companies working with the AIAC have significantly reduced energy usage and therefore improved cost savings.

The U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Technologies Program recognized the following:

  • EGS Electrical Group-Sola in Rainsville as an Energy Saver for achieving 15 percent savings – EGS Electrical Group is a global manufacturer of industrial electrical products for explosion proof, hazardous and ordinary location environments.
  • Mid-South Electronics in Gadsden as an Energy Saver for achieving 9.3 percent savings – The MSI family of companies takes ODM/OEM products from product design to manufacturability and tests throughout the manufacturing process. MSI is capable of manufacturing a broad-range of commercial products with market focus in the IT hardware, automotive and consumer/large appliance industries.
  • Rusken Packaging in Cullman as an Energy Saver for achieving 10.2 percent savings – Rusken Packaging is a manufacturer of corrugated shipping containers. Rusken’s market area encompasses the entire southern United States and provides a wide range of corrugated packaging which is not generally available through any single manufacturer.
  • Southwire’s Forte Power Systems in Heflin as an Energy Saver for achieving 8.5 percent savings – A technology leader, Southwire Co. is a major wire and cable provider in North America, manufacturing building wire and cable, metal-clad cable, cord products, utility cable products, industrial power cable, copper and aluminum rod and continuous casting technology.
  • W.R. Grace and Co. in Irondale as an Energy Saver for achieving 9.7 percent savings – Grace is a leading global supplier of catalysts and other products to petroleum refiners; catalysts for the manufacture of plastics; silica-based engineered and specialty materials for a wide range of industrial applications; sealants and coatings for food and beverage packaging, and specialty chemicals, additives and building materials for commercial and residential construction.
  • vonGal Corp. in Montgomery as an Energy Champion for achieving 19 percent savings – With an installed base of more than 4,000 palletizers, vonGal delivers quality, reliable and high performance palletizer solutions to diversified industries including baking, bottling, brewing, paint, pet food and publishing.

“The savings realized by these companies from five to 20 percent of energy use are typical for all of our clients,” said Dr. Keith Woodbury, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the AIAC. “UA’s AIAC was fortunate to win two ARRA stimulus awards to expand our assistance to Alabama industries.”

Each company achieved substantial energy savings due to energy assessments and recommendations from the AIAC, which is headquartered at The University of Alabama College of Engineering.

Recently, the AIAC entered a collaboration chartered in the state known as E3 – Economy, Energy and Environment. The group is spearheaded by the Alabama Technology Network and includes the state’s two-year colleges, the University of Alabama System, the AIAC, Auburn University and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. Its goal is to assist the state’s industries and communities as they move into a “green” economy.

“AIAC is leading the E3 initiative in the area of energy assessments. The E3 program delivers energy and lean manufacturing assessments to qualifying clients. For companies in the automotive sector, an additional implementation event is also provided,” added Woodbury.

The AIAC is one of 26 Department of Energy-funded centers throughout the country tasked with assisting manufacturing plants with energy conservation, waste reduction and productivity increases by issuing a detailed report of energy savings recommendations.

This is the third consecutive year that at least one of the AIAC clients received these national awards. In 2008, Specification Rubber Products of Alabaster was recognized as an Energy Saver for implementing energy savings from an AIAC assessment. In 2009, Johnson Controls of Cottondale and Specification Rubber Products of Alabaster were recognized as Energy Savers due to their results from implementing the AIAC recommendations.

For more information regarding the Alabama Industrial Assessment Center, visit http://iac.ua.edu.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 2,700 students and more than 100 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named USA TodayAll-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater scholars, Hollings scholars and Portz scholars.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Mary Wymer, engineering media relations, 205/348-6444, mwymer@eng.ua.edu
  • SOURCE: Dr. Keith Woodbury, professor of mechanical engineering and director of AIAC, 205/348-1647, keith.woodbury@ua.edu