Energy-efficient motors

IECEE to launch Global Motor Labelling Programme

By Claire Marchand

Growing populations and industrializing countries create huge needs for electrical energy. According to the IEA (International Energy Agency), projected world primary energy demand will increase by 45% between 2006 and 2030 – an average annual rate of growth of 1,6% – and doubles (i.e. a 100% increase) by 2050. Electricity demand will triple by 2050. The question is how do we cope with the increasing need for energy in the meantime? One option is to use less energy, which for some is not an option at all. How about using energy more efficiently then? Not much can be said against that and a lot is in the pipeline and ready to use.

Energy-efficient motor (Photo: Siemens press picture) Energy-efficient motor (Photo: Siemens press picture)

Industry accounts for approximately 42% of the world’s consumption of electric energy. Two thirds of this is used to power electric motors. Increasing the efficiency levels of those motors by a few percentage points can have a significant impact on energy use, which not only reduces manufacturing costs but also CO2 emissions.

Energy efficient motors

The good news is that leading manufacturers of industrial motors around the world have already adopted an energy efficiency classification that was put in place by the IEC and has been published as a globally relevant standard IEC 60034-30Rotating electrical machines - Part 30: Efficiency classes of single-speed, three-phase, cage-induction motors (IE-code). This IEC International Standard classifies motors into three levels depending on how efficiently they convert electricity into mechanical energy: IE1 is the base standard for efficiency, IE2 stands for high efficiency and IE3 for premium efficiency. The standard also mentions a future level above IE3 to be called IE4 super premium efficiency. Products in this category are not yet commercially available.

National and regional initiatives

The classification system has stimulated competition among motor manufacturers and generated massive technology improvements, and while IEC International Standards are voluntary, the EU (European Union) has adopted the IEC classification system and issued a Commission Regulation (EC) No. 640/2009, which came into effect on 16 June 2011. As of that date, only motors that meet or exceed IE2 energy efficiency levels are allowed to be sold and installed in the EU. In a second stage, from January 2015 all motors will need to reach IE3 efficiency levels (or IE2 combined with variable speed drives). Generally referred to as EU MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standard), the requirement covers most two, four and six pole motors in the power range of 0.75 to 375 kW (kilowatt) for AC (alternating current) power supply frequencies of 50 and 60 Hz (Hertz).

Other countries including Australia, China, Brazil and Canada have already implemented similar energy efficiency schemes and participate actively in the IEC.

One step further

In the USA, the NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) Premium Efficiency Electric Motors Program corresponded closely to the IEC energy classifications and NEMA motors had to be tested in accordance with the IEC testing protocol contained in IEC 60034-2-1Rotating electrical machines - Part 2-1:Standard methods for determining losses and efficiency from tests (excluding machines for traction vehicles).

A global programme

However, recognizing that standards are only one part of the equation and that assessment of conformity to energy efficiency standards is equally important, the IECEE and NEMA initiated talks that resulted in the resolution to work together to possibly develop a programme that will be truly global and uses standards that are recognized and accepted everywhere: IEC International Standards.

In this respect, if the parties agree, the future Global Motor Labelling Programme will be inspired by and based on the existing NEMA Premium Efficiency Electric Motors Program but converted into an IEC Global Motor Labelling Programme (abbreviated GMLP), administered by IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, under the umbrella of the IEC.

Benefits for all stakeholders

The GMLP will offer major advantages to all parties involved. The global label will be registered atWIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), a United Nations agency. It will ensure that motor manufacturers’ testing laboratories participate effectively. The motor industry will also be represented at IECEE management committee level, this will enable it to make its needs heard insofar as policy and strategy matters are concerned. The GMLP will meet the expectations of government and national authorities, including those in developing countries, in terms of increased energy efficiency and environmental protection. 

As part of the IECEE System, the IECEE E3 (electrical energy efficiency) GMLP may benefit from direct recognition by all IECEE member countries – of which there are 53 to date – or in the market place by direct recognition by regulators and national authorities, and beyond. Many non-member countries around the world recognize and accept the global value of IECEE certificates and labels.

Operating providers, testing laboratories and certification bodies will be registered under the strict control of the IECEE Peer Assessment Programme, ensuring the highest possible level of compliance with ISO/IEC 17025General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, and ISO/IEC 17065, Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services*, as well as with all IEC Product Standards in terms of energy efficiency/performance and safety aspects. The IECEE E3 GMLP will be operated in accordance with ISO/IEC System 5 that includes testing, factory surveillance, certification, re-testing and market surveillance.

Once launched, the IECEE E3 GMLP will be the first truly global labelling programme for all types and sizes of industrial motors.


* To be published end of July

Energy-efficient motor (Photo: Siemens press picture) Energy-efficient motor (Photo: Siemens press picture)
Motor assembly line at ABB Electrical Motors Factory in Aleksandrów Łódzki, Poland (Photo: ABB) Motor assembly line at ABB Electrical Motors Factory in Aleksandrów Łódzki, Poland (Photo: ABB)
Kone EcoDrive lift motors help cut energy use in buildings (Copyright: Kone Corp.) Kone EcoDrive lift motors help cut energy use in buildings (Copyright: Kone Corp.)