Efficiency performance standards

Efficiency performance standards regulate motor efficiency and stipulate minimum efficiency requirements.

Motor manufacturers have used the designation ‘high-efficiency motor’ for many years. However, since the claim has generally been used by all motor manufacturers, it has been difficult for customers to tell which motors were in fact energy-saving.

To address this issue and to reduce energy consumption in USA, the American Congress introduced the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct), which came into force on 24 October 1997. EPAct prescribes that imported and US-manufactured foot-mounted motors for industry must comply with the minimum efficiency requirements stated in the EPAct list.

Other motor standards have since been introduced, and several are described below. In many ways they resemble each other, but there are often differences in the kW ratings they apply to.

Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) Regulations in Australia. From 2001, all three-phase electric motors from 0.73 kW up to 185 kW have to meet the MEPS. The new standards are described in Australian/New Zealand standards AS/NZS 1359.5:2000, and these are made mandatory by state regulations. MEPS prescribes that products are to be removed from the market if they have unacceptably low energy efficiency. MEPS also defines minimum efficiency levels before a motor can be designated as a high-efficiency motor.

The IEC/EN standards cover what we normally call ‘IEC’ motors (Europe, Asia). The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) sets standards for motors used in many countries around the world. IEC 60034 standards contain recommended electrical practices developed by the participating IEC countries. Mechanical dimensions and tolerances of motors are specified by the IEC 600 72 and EN50347 standards. Metric units (SI units) apply.

The NEMA standards cover motors in the USA, Canada and other countries related to the US. NEMA is therefore primarily associated with motors used in North America. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) sets standards for a wide range of electrical products, including motors. The standards represent general industry practices and are supported by manufacturers of electrical equipment. The standard for motors is found in NEMA Standard Publication No. MG1. Some large motors may not fall under NEMA standards. Imperial (US) units apply.