San Francisco State University, Established 1899, 1600 Holloway Ave. SF, CA 94132

SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.


Contact: Christina Holmes
phone: (415) 338-1665

SFSU students, faculty assess energy usage at East Bay mattress manufacturing plant

Heightened awareness of energy consumption encourages Sealy Mattress to open its doors to voluntary audit and determine ways to reduce power and save money

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. July 27, 2001 - Threats of rolling blackouts and skyrocketing energy bills have kept San Francisco State University engineering students and faculty members busy as they continue a valuable program of auditing companies and recommending ways to reduce power consumption and save money.

SFSU is the only Northern California site and one of only three universities in California to conduct energy audits through the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Assessment Center. The next scheduled audit will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2, at Sealy Mattress Manufacturing, 1130 7th St. in Richmond.

Since 1992, SFSU engineering students and professors have visited more than 200 companies and analyzed energy consumption. The SFSU team has recommended energy saving amounts ranging from several thousand dollars to $200,000 a year based on the team's recommendations. On average, the recommended savings amount constitutes about 10 percent to 20 percent of the company's total annual energy costs. This is a free service to local manufacturing companies who volunteer to take part in the program and meet the size Department of Energy requirements.

"The Industrial Assessment Center serves several valuable purposes," said Ahmad Ganji, an SFSU engineering professor and the program's director. "It's a great financial benefit to industry, conserves natural resources, provides real-world training to students, benefits faculty members in their teaching and research and connects the University to the community."

With the recent power shortage and rising energy costs, it's especially worthwhile for small to mid-sized manufacturers to take advantage of this free service to save money and improve productivity, Ganji added.

"Smaller firms lack the time, money and in-house expertise to identify energyefficient measures," he said.

The program works this way: SFSU arranges a visit to small and mediumsized manufacturing companies within 150 miles of San Francisco and with no more than 500 employees and $100 million gross sales per year. Annual utility bills must be more than $100,000 and less than $2 million.

A team of a students and professors spend one day at the company, looking at all mechanical and electrical equipment, motors, air compressors, lighting and heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems.

Following the visit, the team crunches numbers and assesses the company's energy consumption and waste management. About two months after the visit, the company receives a confidential, detailed engineering report recommending ways to save energy, reduce industrial waste and improve productivity. This report comes at no cost to the company and there is no obligation to implement the recommendations.

SFSU conducts 25 assessments a year. In addition to providing a service for manufacturers and to reduce energy consumption and waste generation, the Industrial Assessment Center program is designed to enrich the educational experience of engineering students by involving them with local industries. Faculty members are experienced in energy and industrial waste-related subjects.

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Last modified April 24, 2007, by Office of Public Affairs