DOE proposes new energy efficiency rules for electric motors

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) proposed new energy efficiency standards for electric motors. Items covered by the new rules include products in the 1- to 500- horsepower range, including those that operate fans, pumps in elevators, conveyor belts, driving compressors and furnace fans.

The new regulations were needed because these small motors consume 50 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

"These proposed standards were set at levels supported by both motor manufacturers and efficiency advocates, including NRDC," the organization said on its blog. "When you have advocates and manufacturers agreeing on efficiency standards for 50 percent of the U.S.'s industrial electricity use, that's a big deal!" 

The council also praised the agency and said that the revised standards were long overdue. 

Over a 30-year span, American consumers could save up to $23 billion and cut carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 400 million metric tons due to the rule change, according to the DOE. It also noted that by 2030, the energy efficiency standards set forth by the Obama administration will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 1.7 billion tons. 

The electric motor rule is just the latest in a series of proposals released by the DOE. The department has revised standards for commercial refrigeration units, walk-in coolers and freezers, lamp fixtures and furnace fans. 

According to the NRDC, by requiring manufacturers to create more energy-efficient and cost-effective motors and appliances, the DOE is giving Americans more opportunities to save energy, minimize pollution and keep their electricity bills low.