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Energy Efficiency Aspects of Electric Motors
Energy Efficiency Aspects of Motors (photo credit: stiavelli.com)
Load Efficiency
Three-phase squirrel-cage induction motors comprise a considerable percentage of the electrical load in the
United States. Design, operation, and maintenance of these machines is well described in some of the articles
already published. This technical article focuses on their energy efficiency aspects.
Induction motors typically range in full load efficiency from about 87% to 94%. This efficiency is very difficult
to measure accurately in the field, requiring a dynamometer and other specialized equipment. Fortunately,
energy saving projects associated with electric motors do not require actual efficiency of a given motor to be
One of the foremost opportunities for energy savings is to implement a program of replacing rather
than rewinding induction motors at failure.
Rewinding a damaged induction motor is a common practice in industry, but studies have proven that rewinding
an induction motor drops its efficiency by a couple percentage points. Multiple rewinds can further reduce the
efficiency of the rewound motor.
While a drop in efficiency from 89% to 88% seems insignificant, a quick estimate reveals that this reduction
can be costly. A standard efficiency 20 hp motor operating 8000 hours annually, for example, costs about $7000
per year to operate at an average electricity rate of 7 /kWh. Once this motor fails, the least-cost option for
returning it to service is typically rewinding.
Figure 1 Electric motors are efficient machines, even at partial load
Figure 2 But power factor drops off sharply at half load
The incremental cost of replacing this failed motor with an energy-efficient motor, however, is only
$430. This amount assumes considers the rewound cost, and the labor necessary to perform
the motor change-out, as sunk costs.
The annual energy savings associated with replacing the failed motor with an energy-efficient model, at a new
efficiency of 92.9%, is approximately $510. The simple payback for the replacement, therefore, is less than one
Energy-efficient motor programs are applicable to any
AC motor installations utilizing NEMA Design B
induction motors. Since the programs are based on
replacement at failure, the full savings potential is
realized after three years or more.
Published efficiencies of typical rewound,
standard, and energy-efficient three-phase
induction motors.
HP Rewound Efficiency Standard Efficiency Energy Efficient Efficiency
1 69.7% 70.7% 82.6%
2 79.5% 80.5% 83.4%
3 79.4% 80.4% 86.6%
5 81.4% 82.4% 88.3%
8 83.1% 84.1% 90.0%
10 85.1% 86.1% 91.1%
15 85.5% 86.5% 92.0%
20 87.3% 88.3% 92.9%
25 88.0% 89.0% 93.5%
30 88.1% 89.1% 93.7%
40 88.7% 89.7% 94.2%
50 90.0% 91.0% 94.4%
60 89.9% 90.9% 94.7%
75 90.4% 91.4% 94.9%
100 90.4% 91.4% 95.4%
125 90.6% 91.6% 95.3%
150 91.5% 92.5% 95.7%
Motor Rewinding Process (VIDEO)
What is the rewind scenario if a motor fails? Read more about rewind rules of thumb.
Cant see this video? Click here to watch it on Youtube.
Reference: Electrical Energy Management Bill Brown, P.E., Square D Engineering Services