College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Manufacturers and students connect at sustainability forum in Greenville


Representatives from some of the Upstate’s leading manufacturers gathered in Greenville on March 12 for a forum aimed at helping them reduce their energy use and costs, while increasing their environmental sustainability. 

Two students who are part of the Industrial Assessment Center tour the Komatsu plant in Newberry.
Two students who are part of the Industrial Assessment Center tour the Komatsu plant in Newberry.

The Sustainable Manufacturing Forum connected industry representatives and Clemson University students, said David Ladner, who helped organize the event and is an associate professor of environmental engineering and Earth sciences at Clemson.

The forum was held in the TD Gallery at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

The agenda called for talks by representatives from leading companies, including Bosch, Michelin, Milliken, Owens Corning and T & S Brass. Also on the agenda were speakers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 and the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

The event hosts were the South Carolina Economy, Energy, Environment group (SC E3) and Clemson’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). The South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership assisted.

Agenda for the Sustainable Manufacturing Forum
Agenda for the Sustainable Manufacturing Forum

More about who was at the forum:

SC E3 works with South Carolina manufacturers to help them reduce energy use and pollution and become more efficient, which makes companies more productive and saves them money, Ladner said. The net result is a boost to the economy and a reduction of manufacturers’ environmental footprint, he said.

SC E3 collaborates with Clemson’s Industrial Assessment Center, led by Michael Carbajales-Dale, an assistant professor of environmental engineering and Earth Sciences.

The center includes a mix of students, most from industrial, environmental and mechanical engineering. But other majors are also represented, including business and finance.

Teams of students, faculty, and staff conduct free, one-day energy use assessments at companies around the state. They break into teams to assess a wide range of operations, including lighting, compressed air, HVAC systems, boilers, chillers and wastewater treatment operations.

The students then report their findings to the client and suggest ways of saving energy. 

“We want manufacturers within the state to know that Clemson has free services that can help them save money while also reducing their environmental footprint,” Carbajales-Dale said. 

David Freedman, chair of the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, said the forum and Industrial Assessment Center helped link students and manufacturers.

“We are creating a workforce that is passionate about saving energy, reducing costs and enhancing sustainability,” Freedman said. “This forum, SC E3 and the Industrial Assessment Center position us to have a great impact in areas that are important in South Carolina and beyond.” 

To read more about the Industrial Assessment Center, go here, or visit its website here

For more information about the forum, reach Ladner at or 864-656-5572.

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