Going Green With NEMA Motors
Learn about the two basic types of NEMA motors and how they impact the environment, and the economy.

With "going green" being a hot topic, energy conservation is on the forefront of many minds. In particular, there has been a big push towards changing standards within the motor industry. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association, better known as NEMA, is one organization dedicated to creating new, more efficient regulations for electrical equipment.

NEMA, an association in operation for almost 90 years, is made up of over 400 members that manufacture products used in several industries, including power generation, steel processing and automotive. The association has many responsibilities including creating and advocating for new industry standards and legislation (NEMA, 2013).

In 2007, President George W. Bush approved Congress’ Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), a law that aimed to encourage energy efficiency through resource preservation and pollution reduction. As a large consumer of electricity, almost 60% of all energy consumption in the U.S., motors became a target for change. In conjunction with the EISA, NEMA introduced its Premium Efficiency Electric Motors program, a new set of standards endorsed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) designed to promote energy efficient motors by maximizing performance, minimizing energy expense and boosting system accuracy (Motors).

Premium efficiency is determined based on a number of factors including motor type, the number of poles, horsepower and efficiency (Product Scope, 2009). There are two general overarching types of motors: open and enclosed. While open motors use an external source of air as a cooling mechanism, enclosed motors rely on an internal source, such as a fan.

Depending on the type of motor and the number of poles, for every horsepower, there is a certain output of efficiency. For example, at 2 horsepower there is an output of 85.5 efficiency for an open motor with 2 poles.

The U.S. Department of Energy predicts that over the next 10 years, this program will potentially reduce the amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere by nearly 80 million tons and potentially save close to 6,000 gigawatts of electricity (NEMA, 2013).

As an added bonus, Premium Efficiency motors require less upkeep and reduce air conditioning costs by running at a "lower temperature rise" (Motors).

(2009, June 3). Retrieved from Product Scope and Nominal Efficiency Levels

NEMA. (2013). Retrieved from NEMA

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