This article was originally published in the May/June 1994 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.



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Home Energy Magazine Online May/June 1994


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has consolidated the energy information and technical assistance services previously provided by two organizations--the familiar Conservation and Renewable Energy Inquiry and Referral Service (CAREIRS) and the National Appropriate Technology Assistance Service (NATAS)--into one entity called the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC). EREC is now providing the specialized technical assistance previously contracted to NATAS, a project of the Butte, Montana-based National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), since 1984. It will also provide the more general information services--factsheets, brochures, videos, and so forth--delivered through CAREIRS. EREC is operated by NCI Information Systems, Inc., the firm that ran CAREIRS and also manages DOE's Energy Information Center, the public information service of DOE's statistical branch, the Energy Information Administration. The new contract officially started in January, and the name change followed in March. DOE is funding EREC through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Technical Information Program.

EREC furnishes informational materials from an extensive database of publications, referrals, and bibliographies covering the efficient use of energy and the application of renewable energy technologies. It also provides business assistance and information on financing for energy-related businesses.

NCI has beefed up its computer system and added staff to respond to inquiries more quickly. Users can now request and download publications and other information through a new computer bulletin board. Another upgrade in the works is electronic communication over the Internet. Services for Spanish-speaking and hearing-impaired people are planned as well, according to Don Fort, technical supervisor for EREC.

-- Abba Anderson


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