Discover Copper Online

Winter 2001

Promoting Efficient Motors

Three programs push for smarter selection

More and more companies are specifying higher efficiency motors, according to Ted Jones, industrial program manager for the Center for Energy Efficiency. CEE's members, representing many industries, are heavily involved in three programs promoting smarter selection of motors. They are:

  • The Premium Efficiency Motors Initiative, launched by CEE back in 1996, encourages the manufacture and sale of energy efficient industrial motors. For this initiative, CEE developed new efficiency requirements for 14 classes of motors that are, on average, one to four percent higher than the minimum standards required by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. CEE member utilities based their demand-reducing rebate programs on these higher efficiency levels.
  • CEE and NEMA agreed to copromote a new set of higher specifications for "premium" motors on June 20, 2001. The new term is "NEMA Premium" for motors that meet or exceed NEMA Premium requirements.
  • The Motor Decisions Matter (MDM) program was launched on June 25, 2001. The MDM group includes eleven of the world's leading manufacturers of induction motors, along with many governmental and non governmental agencies such as the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the Electrical Apparatus Service Association, and the Copper Development Association (CDA). The CEE is facilitating MDM.

Motor Oversight Needed

MDM goes beyond simply promoting efficient motors. In its mission statement, it encourages business customers to "... evaluate their motor repair and replacement options and to develop a motor management plan before motors fail." It is MDM's hope that these customers will choose higher-efficiency premium motors when they replace old motors performing poorly or liable to fail. (They say the cost to the user when a big motor fails can far exceed the cost of a new motor). However, even new "standard" motors can lower power charges and overall efficient than standard motors installed 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

Are these three efforts likely to pay off? Here's what CEE's Jones reports: "We've seen a dramatic rise in both the availability and sales of premium-efficiency motors since CEE's members started promoting them in 1996. Back then only 7% of motor purchases were high efficiency. Because many motor manufacturers have redesigned their top lines to meet CEE's specifications, that number is closer to 20% today. The cumulative savings due to this increase are estimated to be 260 million kWh. We expect even greater market acceptance and savings in the future with our recent alignment with NEMA Premium and through the MDM campaign."

CDA participates in such programs to educate facility managers and engineers on the distinct advantages of higher efficiency motors and their attendant cost savings. CDA will continue to report on these commendable long-term efforts.

CEE: 617/589-3949
MDM: 617/589-3949

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