U.S. manufacturing plants have access to a free government program that puts experts in their plants to pinpoint changes that can save thousands - if not hundreds of thousands - of dollars a year. And there is no cost for the service.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy established its Industrial Technologies Program to analyze the energy use of eligible small- and medium-size manufacturing facilities with gross annual sales below $100 million and fewer than 400 employees at the site. The Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) sponsors industrial assessment centers that send a team of engineering faculty and students from a participating university in the manufacturing plant’s area to assess existing energy-use conditions and recommend ways to improve efficiency.

The chart gives examples of what the ITP’s experts have suggested in 2009 for some of their clients, and the expected savings and payback time for each recommendation at the specific facility. For more information, visit www.iac.rutgers.edu/database/centers.php.