Most of us involved in energy efficiency have realized at one time or another that there are greater opportunities to save energy through system optimization than through improvements to the efficiency of an individual device. A good way to visualize this is to picture a well-designed pump driven by a high-efficiency motor pumping water through a mostly closed valve that not only wastes most of the electricity going into the motor, it causes backpressure on the pump that will cause it to wear out quicker.
Solving such abuses of energy design usually requires a custom solution. Errors, however, can be minimized or even eliminated with proper system design and equipment selection. To that end, ACEEE has joined several industrial motor-driven equipment manufacturers, their trade associations, including National Electrical Manufacturers Association (motors and drives), Hydraulic Institute (pumps), Air Movement and Control Association (fans), and Compressed Air and Gas Institute (compressors), and efficiency program administrators to develop new voluntary performance labels that will communicate the comparative efficiency of an “extended product” comprised of a driven component (e.g., fan, pump, or compressor), a motor, and associated controls.
This product label would reflect the relative efficiency of the equipment as it is installed into a motor system application, allowing users to select a more efficient product for a given application. We are working to ensure that these extended-product labels can be used by the energy efficiency programs across the country to incentivize customer purchases of products that will result in greater system efficiency in their targeted applications.
Each label would be owned by the trade associations for these equipment manufacturers. The association and their members would develop the testing and labeling specifications for these extended products. All of us intend that this label would complement the minimum efficiency performance standards that are under development by the Department of Energy rulemaking process.
Success for the organizations involved in this initiative would be the creation of a set of comparative indices that consumers and efficiency program administrators could use to evaluate and identify the energy performance of various industrial motor-driven products, and of new program models which utility sector efficiency programs would use to develop new energy efficiency resource acquisition programs that impact the millions of connected horsepower sold every year in the US.
If all goes according to plan, the details of both the labels and the model programs will be unveiled in early 2015. Until then, we will keep you updated on the initiative’s progress on our website and at events throughout the year. For example, we will present at the Industrial Energy Technology Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 20th-23rd, 2014, providing a description of the initiative and updating our progress. Hope to see you there!