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Helpful Resources - Quick Facts

Motor Management Quick Facts: Opportunities for Energy and Cost Savings

  • In 2004, the Department of Energy ranked “energy efficient motors and rewind practices” ninth of the top 20 energy saving opportunities for the industrial sector.[1]
  • Electric motors make up the largest end use of electricity in the United States, accounting for approximately 60% of electricity consumption in industrial applications and more than 70% in the process industries (e.g. the food and beverage industry, specialty chemical markets, and other industries in which the product cannot be distilled back to its original components) in 2008.[2]
  • Industrial manufacturing facilities consumed 36% of all the energy used in the U.S. in 2008.[2]
  • Motor systems account for approximately 60%-70% of the total electricity used in an industrial facility. Energy expenditures can be 10% or more of total operating costs.[2]
  • The electricity used by industrial motor systems accounts for 25% of total electricity sales in the U.S.[3]

Energy Consumption

  • Motors above 20 hp represent only 20% of the overall motor population yet they consume roughly 60% of motor driven equipment energy.[4]
  • Motor energy efficiency is maximized at a 75% to 90% load factor and drops off dramatically below 50% load. This means oversized motors cost you in three ways: increased purchase cost, increased power factor penalty charges, decreased operating efficiency.[5]
  • Over 40% of industrial motors were operating under 40% load factor in 2004.[5]

Operating Costs

  • Electric motors can cost up to six times their purchase price to operate each year.[6]
  • When life cycle cost analysis—an analysis used to show the total expenses and benefits associated with an investment—is applied to most electric motors, it shows that electricity costs represent up to 96% of the total life-cycle cost while the initial price of the motor along with maintenance costs make up only about 3% and 1% respectively.[7]
  • Although premium efficiency motors typically cost 15% to 30% more than their energy efficient counterparts, the additional investment is usually recovered within two years of the purchase because of reduced energy costs.[5]
  • The standards for premium efficiency motors are set by the National Electric Manufacturers Association (NEMA) which labels motors only if they meet or exceed nominal energy efficiency levels. NEMA Premium® labeled electric motors will assist purchasers to optimize motor systems efficiency, reduce electrical power consumption and costs, and improve system reliability.[8]

Maintenance Opportunities

  • Studies show that effective preventative maintenance programs, which keep equipment from failing prematurely and keep equipment calibrated for optimum performance, can prevent more than half the losses associated with electrical equipment failure.[4]
  • Predictive maintenance includes scheduled testing and measurement, and trending of the results over time in order to predict an impending failure. This allows necessary repair, cleaning, or alignment to be scheduled before a costly catastrophe occurs.[4]

Potential Savings

  • Studies show that optimizing industrial motor systems through the implementation of mature, proven, cost-effective energy-saving techniques can reduce U.S. industrial energy costs up to $5.8 billion per year.[3]
  • It is estimated that NEMA Premium® efficiency motors, which are 2 to 6 percentage points more efficient than EPAct motors, could save up to 5,800 gigawatts of electricity over the next 10 years. This translates to preventing nearly 80 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—equivalent to keeping 16 million cars off the road.[8]


[1] U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Use, Loss and Opportunities Analysis: U.S. Manufacturing & Mining. Washington, DC: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Industrial Technologies Program, 2004.

[2] U.S. Department of Energy: Industrial Technologies Program. Improving Motor and Drive System Performance. Washington, DC: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 2008. [p. 3, 45, 46]

[3] U.S. Department of Energy: Motor Challenge Program. United States Industrial Electric Motor Systems Market Opportunities Assessment. Washington, DC: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 2002.[p. 7, 2]

[4] U.S. Department of Energy. Energy Management for Motor Driven Systems. Washington, DC: Office of Industrial Technologies Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 2003.

[5] Post, Doug. “Maximizing Electrical Investment: The financial impact of motor selection.” Ethanol Producer Magazine. January 2004.

[6] U.S. Department of Energy: Motor Challenge Program. Fact Sheet: Buying an Energy-Efficient Electric Motor. Washington, DC: Office of Industrial Technologies Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

[7] Brunner. Conrad U., Global Motor Systems Network: The International Energy Agency 4E EMSA Project. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference EEMODS '09: Energy Efficiency in Motor Driven Systems, Nantes, FRANCE, 14-17 September 2009, EUR 24142 EN/1 - 2010.

[8] NEMA—NEMA Premium Motors. 2009. National Electrical Manufacturers Association. 9 July 2009.