Energy Management Maintenance Motors & Drives

Energy Management: Where to Begin

EP Editorial Staff | November 4, 2014

motor-decisions-matterBy Jenna Overton, Industrial Program Associate Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE)

Strategic Energy Management” seems to be the new buzz term for industrial and commercial businesses that want to boost their bottom lines and reduce their environmental footprint through continuous energy improvements. Unfortunately, implementing a corporate energy-management program, as described in ISO 50001, can be costly and time-consuming. While applying strategic energy management concepts to an entire facility may seem daunting, you can begin your journey to success on a smaller scale: by managing down the energy costs of your site’s common motor-driven equipment.

Released in 2011, ISO 50001 standardizes the requirements for every element involved in the implementation of an energy-management system. Due to the comprehensive nature of these standards, managers tasked with administering them have been known to feel as if they were assigned to read a thousand-page book in one night. ENERGY STAR’s 43-page Guidelines for Energy Management, however, provides a step-by-step roadmap for continuous improvement based on energy-management best practices. These guidelines (available at help make energy-management programs more approachable.

Scalability and applicability

Strategic energy management is scalable and applicable to a broad range of facilities, as well as to particular processes or systems like pumps,      fans and air compressors. Depending on your industry, such systems may account for a substantial portion of your electric load. For example, Bonneville Power Administration reports that in industrial machinery, compressed air represents 16% of total load. Improved management of this seemingly small element of motor operation can clearly lead to significant energy savings.

Management of entire motor systems has become a primary focus for businesses to achieve energy savings, and motor-system management has much in common with strategic energy management. It is a continuous process that involves: 1) measuring and assessing motor-system energy performance; 2) developing key performance indicators (KPIs); 3) identifying and committing to goals; 4) establishing an action plan; 5) implementing improvements; 6) conducting planned and preventive maintenance; 7) tracking and reporting performance over time; and 8) sharing success stories from your strategic-management experience.

Overcoming challenges

The biggest challenges to implementing strategic energy management at any scale aren’t technical: They are managerial and operational. Overcoming these challenges calls for commitment and support of all industrial personnel—from corporate executives and plant managers to engineers and maintenance staff—to continually track their performance and implement improvements as necessary. Whether looking at an entire facility or a single machine, strategic energy management requires setting performance goals and monitoring achievement of those goals over time.

Large savings opportunities open up when you look at motors as an entire system incorporating a number of various components, as opposed to one stand-alone piece of rotating equipment. Motor Decisions Matter (MDM) is a campaign with many resources to help you boost your bottom line by applying concepts of energy management to your motors. Visit the MDM Website ( to browse case studies, tools, news articles and other helpful items to help you conserve electricity and improve your budget by strategically managing your motor systems, one component at a time. MT

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


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