Ask the Expert: Featuring Vestal Tutterow

Vestal Tutterow, P.E.

April 1, 2008

Vestal Tutterow is a Senior Program Manager at the Alliance to Save Energy with over twenty-five years of experience in buildings and industrial energy systems analysis and program management. Vestal’s experiences also include energy assessments and modeling and public/private industrial partnership development. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from Duke University and a MS in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. He is also a registered Professional Engineer and a Certified Energy Manager. Vestal can be reached at (202) 530-2241 and

Q: Congress recently passed energy legislation to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and improve U.S. energy security. However, the Energy Independence and Security Act, signed into law on December 19, 2007 and effective January 1, 2009, essentially ignored the industrial sector and the energy savings opportunities at industrial facilities. Is the federal government doing anything to encourage energy improvements at industrial facilities?

A: While the Congressional legislative package overlooked the industrial sector, the Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program (DOE-ITP) has for many years promoted industrial energy efficiency. DOE-ITP research and development activities explore long-term process efficiency improvements; and its BestPractices activity provides a large portfolio of technical advice, software tools, and educational workshops to help industries identify efficiency improvements that can be made today. The DOE-ITP Save Energy Now campaign offers Energy Savings Assessments (ESAs) to qualified large industrial energy users. This campaign is now in its third year, and the assessments are revealing an average energy savings potential of $2.5 million. Additional information, including case studies and eligibility, is available at Small and medium-sized facilities can receive 1-day energy assessments provided by one of the 26 university-based Industrial Assessment Centers located throughout the United States.

Q: Do any of these activities relate to the mechanical insulation industry?

A: Several of the most recent ESAs include mechanical insulation as one of the efficiency improvement projects. Typically, these opportunities were identified through use of the 3E-Plus software tool. The DOE is developing case studies for a portion of the facilities that implement projects identified through the ESAs. Insulation Outlook has featured some of these case studies and will explore the results of current insulation projects in future issues once the case studies are finalized.

Q: Are there any federal agencies other than the DOE offering programs to help the industrial sector become more energy efficient?

A: Yes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed ENERGY STAR for Industry to provide guidance, including an energy management assessment matrix that helps facilities think strategically about energy management. Additionally, facilities in certain subsectors (automobile assembly plants, petroleum refineries, cement plants, and wet corn mills) can achieve an ENERGY STAR for Plants designation if they are among the top 25 percent most energy-efficient plants for that subsector.

In addition, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers lean manufacturing, energy, and environmental services to manufacturing businesses through its university- and state-based centers located throughout the United States. See for locations of the MEP centers.

The DOE recently teamed up with the EPA and NIST to create the Energy Quick Start web site, which provides a convenient source for easy access to the large array of free and low-cost resources, tools, and training available from the federal government and other organizations. The new site is at

Q: How can I find out about government-sponsored activities in my region or state?

A: The DOE has a new web page that provides data on industrial energy use by subsector for each state. The information is searchable by state and includes a listing of ESAs performed in each state, along with points of contact for the DOE, Industrial Assessment Centers, and MEPs. The web page also includes a link to energy-improvement incentives and rebate programs within each state.

Readers are encouraged to submit their own insulation questions to industry experts by e-mailing Questions can be on any insulation topic. Future topics will include CUI, mold, boilers, insulation maintenance, acoustics, and energy issues.