DOE pushes new rules for pumps, fans, and compressors

With 90% of motors being regulated under efficiency laws, DOE are now making rules to improve the efficiency of other industrial parts.


With 90% of motors being regulated under efficieny laws, the DOE is now making rules to improve the efficiency of other industrial parts. Photo taken by Joy Chang, Plant Engineering, at Baldor motor plant at Fort Smith, Ark.After raising the bar for industrial motors and making the small motor rules effective starting March 2015, the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) is now working on regulating the effiency levels of pumps, fans, and compressors to improve overall system efficiency.

Rules for pumps, fans, and compressors

"The DOE is now looking at the efficiency of pumps, fans, and compressors. DOE has started to establish energy efficiency rules for these industrial equipment types," said Brent McManis, industry engineering manager at Baldor Electric, during the 2014 Baldor publishers' tour in Fort Smith, Ark.

"Now we have 60% to 70% of motors that are considered Premium by law, but soon 90% or almost all the motors will be Premium," McManis told the editors and publishers at the event. "However, it is not enough to have highly efficient motors but inefficient integral parts. We need to improve the efficiency of the whole system."

Baldor Electric participated in the rulemaking process with the DOE. In its latest white paper talking about the current rulemaking progress, the DOE stated that the Energy Conservation Standard rulemaking will take approximately three years from the drafting of framework document, through preliminary analysis, filing of notice for the proposed rule, and the final ruling. The DOE is holding public meetings to solicit feedback on the proposed framework documents.

According to Mcmanis' summary of the current rulemaking status (November 2014), the final ruling for compressors will be in July 2016, for fans in Q1 2016, and for pumps in Q2 2016. The compliance date for compressors will be in July 2021, Q1 2019 for fans, and Q2 2019 for pumps.

Small motor rules
The U.S. efficiency regulations for industrial electric motors have been in place since October 1997 when the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct92) set minimum efficiency levels for 1-hp through 200-hp general-purpose three-phase motors. EPAct 92 was upgraded when the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) went into effect in December 2010, which raised the efficiency level of 1- through 200-hp motors to premium levels and covered other 1- through 200-hp and 201- through 500-hp motors defined in the National Electrical Manufacturer's Association (NEMA) Standard MG 1-2011, Table 12-11 Energy Efficient Motors.

In 2010 the DOE issued a final rule mandating energy efficiency levels be increased effective March 9, 2015. Dubbed the "small motor rule," it covered motors with horsepower ratings from 0.25 through 3 hp (and kW equivalents) with speed ranges of 1,200 to 3,600 rpm operating from 60 Hz frequency.

The rule was interpreted using information found in the NEMA MG1-1987 standard. The ruling requires motor manufacturers to stop production of all motors that are not covered under the new rule. However, motors built and in inventory prior to March 9, 2015, can be sold and installed.

To understand how the small motor rule might affect you, read:

For more details and an in-depth guide to the small motor rule, see: Small motor rule white paper

- Joy Chang, digital project manager, Plant Engineering,

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