College of Science & Engineering Alumni Newsletter

Fall 2000

Industrial Assessment Center

    On October 1, 2000, the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) began its ninth year of operation. The IAC program, sponsored by the US Department of Energy, comprising 30 universities nationwide, began in 1976. Through a competitive proposal process, new centers were added periodically, with San Francisco State University being selected in October 1992.
    The purpose of the center is to provide energy conservation, waste minimization, and productivity assistance to small manufacturers within 150 miles of each center. The assistance provided is in the form of an one?day, no?cost audit at a plant by a team of faculty and engineering students. The contract calls for 25 audits each year. Measurements and observations are made of the plant processes, energy use and waste production, which are compiled in a report prepared in 60 days, specifying ways to save energy, reduce waste, and increase productivity. By September 30 this year, we have audited 200 diverse manufacturers.
    The program provides an excellent opportunity for engineering students to develop important skills needed for their future professions. Some of their duties include: on?site measurements of plant energy consumption; evaluation of waste management; gathering data from utility companies; researching techniques for energy and waste reduction; contacting vendors and estimating implementation costs; and organizing and writing a professional engineering report. Teamwork and communications are indispensable to a successful IAC assessment, and students experience extensive practice in both. Responsibility for leading the assessment and coordinating preparation of the reports is rotated among all team members, thus providing a valuable exercise in project management to all.
    The total value of the IAC contract thus far is approximately $1,300,000. Upon successful completion of work, renewal of the contract adds about $160,000 each year. Contributions from the College of Science and Engineering include space and a total of .33 FTEF matching time for the directors.
    In its 8 years of operation, the center has made a positive contribution to the University and Bay Area industries. Besides the savings in energy and utility dollars and waste reduction opportunities that manufacturers will achieve, the School of Engineering itself achieves increased visibility with local industries. In addition, our students gain valuable work experiences described above. Thus far, we have trained nearly 50 students, with an approximate funding of $350,000 in student salaries.
    The project director and assistant director of the IAC are Professor Ahmad Ganji and Professor ShyShenq Liou, respectively. If you would like us to visit your plant, give us a call at (415) 338-6218, or email us at The center also has a web site at

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Updated by Lannie Nguyen-Tang on June 27, 2001