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11:07 pm
February 18, 2015
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Boosting Your Bottom Line: Keeping Your 2015 Motor Resolution

motor-decisions-matterBy Walker Larsen, Program Manager, Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE)

Every January 1, many of us pledge to turn over a new leaf by making New Year’s resolutions. A good one for those in industry to have made this year would be to boost their bottom lines by resolving to better manage their electric motor-driven systems and save energy and money by reducing equipment downtime, increasing efficiency and improving reliability. Did you?

Motor system management is a set of ongoing business policies and practices that help you holistically manage your systems through a continual process of assessment, goal-setting, proactive planning, project implementation, predictive and preventive maintenance and performance monitoring, tracking and reporting. The process involves every component of a motor system, including breakers, starters, variable frequency drives (VFDs), electric motors, motor interfaces (e.g. belt, drive, and gearbox) and the driven load (e.g., pumps, fans and compressed air). While managing motors as a system can seem daunting, the Motor Decisions Matter campaign (MDM) offers a variety of resources that are designed to make these programs very approachable.

The campaign recently added two new resources to its Website (motorsmatter.org): a table on motor-related training options and a fact sheet about VFDs. The table provides details on over 20 training opportunities available through more than 10 different organizations. These offerings reflect a combination of in-person and online formats, covering topics such as motor management, fans, pumps, VFDs and more. The VFD fact sheet is designed to introduce variable-frequency-drive technology and its potential benefits in non-technical terms. The MDM campaign believes more people need to be aware of VFDs and the benefits they offer. This fact sheet is a great place to start when first exploring whether VFDs are appropriate for your plant or facility. From there, additional VFD materials like calculators, brochures and videos are available on the “Helpful Resources” section of the Website. Combining these new resources with existing MDM tools like the 1*2*3 Approach to Motor Management, the Motor Planning Kit and the Simple Savings Chart, you’ll have information that can help you start implementing robust motor system management at your site.

The 1*2*3 Approach to Motor Management is a step-by-step calculation tool that helps guide repair/replace decisions through comparisons of capital costs with motor-lifetime energy costs. The Motor Planning Kit provides a comprehensive overview of motor management plan options, ranging from purchasing policy to total motor inventory, and provides guidance for implementing the plan that’s right for your facility. The Simple Savings Chart compares annual energy costs and potential savings associated with two motor efficiency levels: the federal minimum motor standards as of 1997 (under the Energy Policy Act), and current minimum motor efficiency standards under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. While these are MDM’s most popular tools, you can find other helpful ones on our Website.

In addition to tools, MDM’s Website has over 50 case studies about motor-driven systems in facilities ranging from pulp and paper plants to nursing homes. Many of these accounts highlight how energy-efficiency-program incentives are used to install technology upgrades as part of a motor management plan.

As 2015 progresses, it may be difficult to stay grounded and keep a resolution you made in early January. Motor Decisions Matter can provide tools and resources that help you learn about sound motor system management strategies and how to put them into action. Use the campaign to guide your efforts, and by this time next year your facility may see a reduction in energy consumption that truly boosts your bottom line. MT

wlarsen@cee1.org

The Motor Decisions Matter campaign (MDM) is managed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE1.org), a North American nonprofit organization that promotes energy-saving products, equipment and technologies. Contact: mdminfo@cee1.org or 617-589-3949.

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