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E3: Economy, Energy and Environment

E3 Success Story - Advancing Performance in Sustainability and Workforce Development

E3 Information

  • Launched in 2011
  • Lead Organization: North Carolina State University Industrial Extension Service

Actual Results

As of June 2013

  • 70 assessments completed at NC manufacturers.
  • 14 manufacturers reported results to date.
  • $9.2 million in cost savings.
  • $90+ million in potential economic impact.
  • Average of $660,000 in cost savings per manufacturer.

North Carolina State University Industrial Extension Service

The North Carolina State University Industrial Extension Service, home of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) affiliate, has joined forces with statewide partners to develop an E3 (Economy, Energy and the Environment) initiative.

E3: North Carolina advances performance in sustainability and workforce development strategies for the state's manufacturers. The initiative helps communities and manufacturers address energy and sustainability challenges by leveraging expertise available in local, state and federal, as well as private resources.

Statewide partners include North Carolina State University IES, NC State University Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department's Industrial Assessment Center, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, NC Department of Labor, the State Energy Office, Small Business Technology Development Center, Duke Energy, Progress Energy, Waste Reduction Partners, and the NC Rural Economic Development Center. Additionally, the Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative is also partnering in the northwest region. There are additional local partners engaged in each community as well.

With the support of all the partners, E3: North Carolina has conducted E3 assessments for 15 manufacturers, with an additional 6 manufacturers scheduled into next year. First year savings identified for manufacturers is well over $1.3 million.


  • NC MEP was awarded $1.3 million from NIST MEP in order to facilitate two E3 projects per each of the seven economic development regions in the state each year, beginning in 2011. This goal will continue for the next two years, to conclude in 2013. The award is one of 22 projects and $9.1 million awarded by the MEP program.
  • The state's MEP was awarded a $73,000 grant by the NC Rural Economic Development Center; a nonprofit funded by public and private sources, to work directly with 4 manufacturers in the state's legacy industries of furniture and textiles on this initiative. Duke Energy supported the energy audit at Baker Furniture through an incentive program.
  • EPA has awarded a Source Reduction Assistance grant of $55,000 to North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources to conduct E3 environmental assessments in central NC.
Unique E3 Attributes
North Carolina, in conjunction with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, has added a worker safety review for all E3 manufacturers. NC OSH provides worker safety reviews to participating manufacturers, connecting them to applicable consulting services and training programs. North Carolina also includes a business excellence assessment, which is a strategic review that analyzes overall plant practices relative to international peer groups.