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Campaign Release

Industry Powerhouses Respond to Nation's Energy Crises With Motor Decisions Matter Campaign Initiative promotes sound motor system management and planning as a method of reducing energy costs

Boston, MA - A consortium made up of motor industry manufacturers and service centers, trade associations, electric utilities, and government agencies announced the kickoff of its Motor Decisions Matter campaign at the 2001 EASA Convention. The nationwide campaign encourages the use of sound motor management and planning as a tool for cutting motor energy costs and conserving energy.

The campaign sponsors are promoting and providing tools that enable commercial and industrial customers to develop a motor plan with the assistance of their local distributor, repair center, or utility representative. A motor plan addresses common motor decisions before equipment failure which ensures motor availability, reduces downtime, and lowers energy costs.

Energy represents over 97% of total motor operating costs. In large industrial plants such as steel plants, motor energy costs can well exceed $1 million annually. The U.S. Department of Energy says greater attention to motor system management can reduce motor energy costs by as much as 18%, while helping to boost motor productivity and reliability. Motor Decisions Matter promotes best practice motor management to industrial and commercial customers because it can also help increase the reliability and quality of motor driven processes and reduce plant operating costs. The campaign's message is good news for the motor distributors and service centers because its message will likely expand the market for premium efficiency motors and motor related services as more customers become aware of their bottom line benefits. Electric utilities are also interested in this message because it will help save energy and reduce peak demand while providing value to their customers.

"Research has shown, however, that many motor decision makers are not aware of energy efficient motors or their benefits," says Ted Jones of the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). "According to a recent study, only 19% of personnel at U.S. industrial facilities were aware of premium efficiency motors and only 11% of customers reported having written specifications for motor purchases, with only two thirds of these customers including efficiency in their specifications," he said.

"We want corporate and plant managers to realize the financial and performance benefits of sound motor management, which includes proper motor planning, evaluation and analysis, inventory, procurement, and repair," Jones said. "By addressing the motor decision making process, businesses can more effectively capture energy savings in the motor replacement market while also taking advantage of the savings potential of proper motor repair, sizing, and management."

The campaign targets three key audiences: executive level managers; maintenance repair and operation employees, plant managers and engineers in industrial markets; and distributors and repair firms. The maintenance repair and operation and the plant level audiences are responsible for effectively and efficiently running their facilities. If a motor management plan is not in place, the result is often quick, price and availability based decisions, rather than an efficient, thoughtful, and proactive plan that reduces panic and poor decision making. The senior executive level audience—motivated by the opportunity to reduce cost and help the environment—will influence the maintenance, repair and operation, and plant audience to consider developing a plan; and the distribution and repair firm audience will help provide quality planning and repair services, which will help them build their businesses.

The campaign consists of several components to increase general awareness and assist the target audiences in developing a motor management plan:

  • A Web site ( which includes information about the campaign, links to campaign sponsors, and eventually a press room and an online distributor marketing kit.
  • A Motor Planning Kit that includes: a checklist of steps to get started on developing a motor plan; links to online resources to get more information about motor planning; and campaign information on the importance and opportunity associated with motor management and planning.
  • A quarterly e-newsletter with news related to motor management and MDM campaign updates.
  • Case studies of motor management success stories and other helpful resources.

In addition to building awareness about the benefits of motor management and planning, helping customers identify appropriate applications for premium efficiency motors is an important component of the campaign. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) recently released a premium efficiency specification and brand, called NEMA PremiumTM, that motor manufacturers, distributors, and the energy efficiency community, such as utilities, can now embrace in common. A product must meet all of the NEMA specified criteria in order to be qualified as a NEMA Premium Compliant Electric Motor by its manufacturer.

NEMA Premium applies to electric motors meeting the following criteria: single-speed; polyphase; 1-500 horsepower; 2, 4, and 6 pole; squirrel cage induction motors; NEMA Design A or B; continuous rated. Qualifying products which meet or exceed the nominal Premium Efficiency levels specified by NEMA may qualify as being NEMA Premium.

Premium efficiency motors are typically constructed with superior materials and have more copper, tighter tolerances, and longer warranties. The customer not only benefits from energy savings, but also improved reliability and up-time by replacing worn out, potentially unreliable motors. The initial cost of a premium efficiency motor is insignificant compared to the amount of energy costs the motor will save in energy costs in the long run.

Premium efficiency motors, which operate thousands of hours per year, such as those in HVAC systems, have proven to amass large savings over the course of the motor's lifetime. The average motor easily consumes 50 to 60 times its initial purchase price in electricity during its 10-year life.

"Developing a motor plan puts managers and motor decision makers in a better position to make the most cost effective decisions in the event of unexpected motor failure," Jones said.

"When a manager has a motor management plan in place it moves motor decisions from panic to planning. The key is to pick the right motor for the right application ahead of time," he said. "Implementing a management plan helps ensure, at time of motor failure, that an energy efficient motor is available, whether by purchasing a spare motor or having the supplier stock a replacement. The best opportunity to install a more efficient motor occurs when the motor fails and must be replaced or repaired. In panic situations, most managers go forward with the most readily available, lowest cost replacement motor, which is not always the most energy efficient."

"A sound motor plan would also include criteria for determining when a motor should be repaired or replaced with a more energy efficient model. These decisions can be made ahead of time, considering all situations, rather than waiting until a problem arises," said Linda Raynes, president and CEO of the Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA).

"A motor management plan, which can be fairly simple to develop, can contain a written set of criteria for repair/replace decisions, stipulate decisions in advance on specific critical application motors or outline a repair/replace decision for each motor in the inventory, and list all spares that can be used for different applications," Raynes said. "EASA strongly supports the Motor Decisions Matter campaign and its efforts to make end-users aware of the value of motor planning. The repair center/distributor is in an excellent position to assist customers in developing customized motor plans, including repair/replace policies, that make sense for them."

For most motor types, a range of efficiencies are available. Because even small efficiency improvements often make economic sense for equipment operated thousands of hours per year, the overall opportunity for energy savings from more efficient motors remains large.

Several major electric motor manufacturers offer complete lines of energy efficient motors and continue to make advances in that area.

"If companies intend to compete in an environment of rising energy costs and the uncertainty of available electricity, they must embrace the forward thinking of the Motor Decisions Matter campaign," said Kyle Pitsor, Industry Director, NEMA Motor and Generator Section. "Having a plan in place just makes good financial sense, for any company."