Why be energy efficient?

Electric motor air compressor (Rs1421, Wikimedia)

Optimising motor systems has the potential to save more electricity than in any other electricity end-use. Investing in motor efficiency also makes sense given the total cost of supplying electricity to a motor can overtake the motor purchase price in just two weeks.1 Effective management of electric motors will also improve their reliability, minimise the risk of lost production time and minimise life-cycle costs.

For information on the benefits of a whole of system approach, see Technology Background – Motors and Motor Systems.


Most energy efficiency opportunities for electric motors fall into the categories below. While increasing the energy efficiency of the ‘core motor system’ has an important role to play, considering additional opportunities in the ‘total motor system’ will enable larger energy efficiency improvements to be achieved.

  • Reduce demand for motive power

    For any motor system, it is first important to ask what service the system provides and whether the need for...
  • Optimise existing motor systems

    Switching motors off when not in use, ensuring good maintenance, and matching the motor, controls and drive-train to the load...
  • Upgrade or replace motor systems

    There are opportunities for energy saving whenever upgrades are planned. Taking a whole of system approach to upgrading motor systems...
See all opportunities in Motors and motor systems

For opportunities in other components of motor systems, see more Technologies pages on the EEX website, including Pumps and Fans and Compressed Air.

Key resources

  • Energy Rating Website
    • Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program

    The Energy Rating Website provides information on the energy performance of a range of residential, office and industrial equipment which is communicated via energy rating labels.

    The website also includes information on mandatory minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) which apply to a large range of equipment, appliances and lighting products including refrigerators, clothes washers, televisions, compact fluorescent lamps and industrial motors.

  • Motors, Pump and Fan Efficiency - More Drive, Less Work 2010 (Opens in a new window)

    This resource developed by the Queensland Government outlines eco-efficiency opportunities for manufacturers in relation to motors, pumps and fans. It includes information on high efficiency motors, using the correct motor, power correction factors and pump and fan efficiency.

  • Motors and drives technology overview 2011 (Opens in a new window)

    This resource looks at some of the simple actions that can be taken to save energy, cut costs and increase profit margins around motors and drives. Note, there is a cost for downloading the PDF.

    In addition to the overview, UK Carbon Trust also provides more specific guidance about motors and drives in PDFs which are free to download.

  • Industrial Efficiency Technology Database 2012
    • Institute for Industrial Productivity

    The Industrial Efficiency Technology Database (IETD) provides information to help decision-makers in industry assess the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency investment options. The information includes descriptions of technologies and processes, key data, benchmarks, energy savings, CO2 reductions and costs. The IETD currently covers the cement, iron, steel and pulp and paper sectors, as well as electrical motor-driven systems.

Footnotes ~ Show 1 footnote

  1. Based on the assumption of a 45kW motor with a purchase price of $1,750 running continuously, with an average electricity price (including network charges) of $0.12 /kWh will consume $977 of electricity every week. In this scenario, the electricity cost will overtake the purchase price in 1.8 weeks.