Do energy efficiency “audits” really benefit companies over time? An interdisciplinary team of Duke researchers (economist Gale Boyd, statistician Jerry Reiter, and doctoral student Nicole Dalzell) have been tackling this question as it applies to a long-running Department of Energy (DOE) effort that is slated for elimination under President Trump’s proposed budget.
Since 1976, the DOE’s Industrial Assessments Centers (IAC) program has aimed to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers to become more energy-efficient by providing free energy “audits” from universities across the country. (Currently, 28 universities take part, including North Carolina State University.)
The Duke researchers’ project, supported by an Energy Research Seed Fund grant, has yielded a statistically sound new technique for matching publicly available IAC data with confidential plant information collected in the U.S. Census of Manufacturing (CMF).