TRS Question of the Month

A photo of a white EV sedan plugged in to a charging station located inside of an employee parking garage.

Question: What factors do employers need to consider when establishing a workplace charging program?

Answer: While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for workplace charging, there are a number of resources available to help employers design, implement, and manage the right program for their organization.

Assess Demand

Employers considering whether workplace charging is right for their organization will want to start by assessing employee demand with an employee survey ( Once this assessment is complete, employers may set goals for meeting workplace charging demand, either by planning to meet the entire need (i.e., all drivers that have expressed or will express interest in PEV charging) or by dedicating a percentage of parking spaces to PEV charging. For example, Google has a goal to dedicate 5% of all parking spaces to workplace charging.

Procure and Install

Employers should determine what types of charging stations to purchase. There are a few decisions to make, including the following:

  • Charging Level: There are benefits and drawbacks to both Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations in the workplace. Employers must evaluate which option is best for their facilities. For more information about the differences between charging levels and their merits for workplace charging, see the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Workplace Charging Station Basics page (
  • Networking: Charging station networks provide maintenance, customer service, and energy monitoring capabilities, and collect payment on behalf of the station owner. However, networks require a fee, and employers will need to consider whether the convenience of charging networks outweighs the financial cost. For more information, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Level 2 page (

Employers should also be sure to get quotes from a number of charging station providers. For more guidance, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Sample Request for Proposal document ( Employers will work with their electrical contractor to determine charging station placement; station installation can be an expensive process, but employers can minimize costs by siting stations in locations that require minimal trenching, boring, and electrical panel upgrades. For more information about siting and installation, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Equipment and Installation Costs page (                                                              


A well-managed, well-planned workplace charging program can ensure station access to all employees, promote strong communication between employers and station users, and encourage responsible station use.

  • Registration and Liability: Many employers require employees to register their PEV, which allows the employer to identify the number of vehicles using their charging stations. For example, employers can give registered vehicles a mirror hangtag or window sticker that identifies the vehicle as having permission to use the charging stations. A registration form may also include language that requires vehicle owners to agree not to hold the employer responsible for any damage to the vehicle that occurs while it is parked at the charging station. For more information, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Registration and Liability page (

  • Station Sharing: It is important to emphasize that workplace charging is a privilege, not a right. Employees may be obligated to share stations with their colleagues and comply with established charging time limits. While an employer can set up systems for sharing stations, such as reserving the station (similar to how an employee would reserve a conference room) or establishing a set schedule for use, most employers allow users to resolve station-sharing conflicts themselves. However, it is important to establish consequences for violating station policies, such as using a station for less than four hours. By framing workplace charging as a privilege, an employer reserves the right to restrict access for employees that routinely violate company policy. For more information about how to establish workplace charging policies and encourage station sharing, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Station Sharing page (

  • Pricing: While most employers offer workplace charging for free, charging for station use can be a good way to manage demand. Employers may charge for electricity (e.g., per kilowatt hour) or for time (e.g., per hour), depending on preference and applicable regulations. Employers can motivate employees to move their vehicles and share the stations by charging a nominal fee (or no fee) for the first set number of hours (e.g., four hours) and then raise the fee for subsequent time that the vehicle is parked in the space. For more information, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging Pricing page (

For more resources about workplace charging, see the DOE’s Workplace Charging website (, explore the Clean Cities’ Workplace Charging Toolkit ( /), or contact the TRS at

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team

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Why Employers Are Hiring Industrial Assessment Center Graduates

Posted by: Michele Capots, via

There are 28 primary Industrial Assessment Centers located at colleges and universities across the country.

When Mary McElhiney, vice president of business operations at ERS, is looking for new hires for her energy efficiency engineering firm she knows exactly where to look – the Energy Department’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program.

ERS, headquartered in North Andover, Massachusetts, was founded by an IAC graduate. Its core services of energy program evaluation, engineering assistance, planning and implementation, and sustainable development help utility, government, and large commercial and industrial clients solve energy and resource problems in cost effective ways. Thirteen of its 94 employees are IAC graduates.


Map of Industrial Assessment Centers

There are 28 primary IACs located at colleges and universities around the country. These centers send engineering students, supervised by faculty, to small and medium-sized manufacturers to provide energy assessments and recommendations for cost- and energy-savings solutions. With the professors’ guidance, these students analyze manufacturers’ facilities, energy bills, waste and water systems and more.


To date, more than 17,000 manufacturers have benefited from IAC assessments. An average IAC assessment leads to a 5-7% implemented energy savings and energy productivity improvement. Through each assessment, IAC students apply their engineering knowledge and skills to analyze a unique set of circumstances. No two assessments are the same, instead students learn how to adapt and solve problems. 


When McElhiney came to the company 12 years ago, it was very difficult to find engineers who understood the energy management work that the company did. IACs became a recruiting ground because they already had the hands-on experience ERS seeks to provide its clients with the valuable skills needed to meet their business needs.

Satyen Moray, an engineer with ERS at the Rock Hill, Connecticut facility, has been with the company for 15 years. Moray, is also an IAC graduate from the University of Dayton and credits the program with getting him where he is today.

He said he could study textbooks and course materials all day long, but to actually see it is a whole different awareness. During the IAC program, he visited roughly 50 facilities.

“The hands-on nature is instrumental,” said Moray.

Marcus Wilcox couldn’t agree more.

Wilcox is CEO of Cascade Energy, which helps to provide technical services for energy efficiency programs. He co-founded the Portland, Oregon-based company in 1993 and has 120 employees, nine of which are IAC graduates. Wilcox was the first student to join and graduate from the Energy Analysis Diagnosis Center, now known as the Oregon State University IAC. He believes the IAC program changed his future.

 “It taught me how to be an engineer in the real world by mapping all the knowledge I had and put it in the context of experience,” he said.

Industrial Assessment Center infographic on graduates in the workforce


Today, Wilcox’s advice to students going through the IAC program is simple. He suggests students gain field work experience because there’s real value working with real processes, problems, and people.

He also notes that graduates will be working with people who have been doing their jobs for decades. Energy might not be a priority for some clients and graduates need to learn how to explain the value of energy management practices. Finally, he says skip using the smartphone, email, and social media because personal contact and building relationships will help graduates strengthen their professional skills and their work will be that much more enjoyable.

It was similar advice that has been priceless for Moray.

“It was the best learning [experience] I received in my whole life,” he said.

Moray is a perfect example of why McElhiney continues to rely on IAC graduates to help make the business a success.

“IACs have experience in exactly what we’re doing because they’ve done it before,” she said.  “They help these companies even before they come here. I’m a big advocate for the IAC program.”



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