This story was first published by the UMass News Office.

Trillium Brewing in Canton, Massachusetts recently celebrated going solar with assistance from UMass College of Engineering faculty, alumni and graduate students through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Assessment Center Program.

There on June 7 to witness the growth of clean energy in Massachusetts was Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Maura Healey and U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, as well as UMass Amherst’s Beka Kosanovic, recently retired director of the UMass Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (CEERE); and Lauren Mattison, director of technical services and applied research for the UMass Energy Transition Institute, both located in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

Trillium Brewing is one of 800 businesses, water and wastewater treatment facilities to receive free technical assistance from CEERE in its nearly 30-year history at the university. UMass Amherst was part of a network of universities across the country administering free energy assessments as part of DOE’s Industrial Assessment Center Program from 1984 until 2023. 

UMass helped Trillium Brewing start the process with an assessment in 2022. “We made several recommendations to reduce their energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, including modifications to improve the efficiency of their refrigeration equipment, and the major opportunity was installing solar photovoltaics on their roof,” Mattison says. 

“For decades, we had been providing free technical assistance, but then businesses had to find funding to implement the recommendations,” she continued. “And many of them have implemented the recommendations. But to increase implementation, through the president’s bipartisan infrastructure law, the DOE started this grant program, which provides up to $300,000 per facility to implement recommendations made in the assessment.”

Trillium Brewing received the maximum grant of $300,000 for its solar installation. UMass assisted several other grant recipients, including the City of Gloucester, which also received a $300,000 grant for roof upgrades and solar panels on its drinking water treatment plant.

Mattison said the program provided great hands-on training for engineering students, who were responsible for helping to identify potential opportunities and determine what data was needed to evaluate those opportunities, then drafting the analysis and report. Alumni of the UMass Industrial Assessment Center account for a significant portion of New England’s energy engineering workforce, she added.

While UMass’s participation in the Industrial Assessment Center program ended with Kosanovic’s retirement, Mattison continues this theme of work in her role in the Energy Transition Institute. Now, through the EPA’s Pollution Prevention grant program, her team works with food and beverage manufacturers on sustainability and improving the energy efficiency of their facilities.

Article posted in Sustainability