A motor efficiency labelling programme that designates energy efficiency classes for low voltage AC motors has been introduced in Europe. The classification and banding scheme, which came into effect on 1 January, is intended to inform users of the importance of electric motor efficiency and to increase awareness of what is available when specifying or selecting electric motors.

Results are anticipated to be a reduction in Europe’s energy consumption, reduced costs for European industry and a reduction in Europe’s carbon dioxide emissions. Manufacturers of motors sign up voluntarily to the scheme which has been jointly established by the European Commission and the European Committee of Manufacturers of Electrical Machines and Power Electronics (CEMEP).

The scheme involves labelling motor name rating plates and providing detailed motor efficiency information in product literature.

Standard motors covered by the agreement are defined as totally enclosed fan ventilated (usually IP 54 or IP 55), three phase AC squirrel cage induction motors 1.1KW to 90KW, two or four poles and rated for 400V-line, 50Hz, S1 duty class in standard design (design N to EN 600 34-12 and HD 231).

There is potential for this scheme to be developed into future European Union legislation to enforce the use of energy efficient electric motors. A similar scheme in the USA, under the Energy Policy Act (EPAct), has already gone further in that there is legislation against the sale of electric motors that are less efficient than the EPAct standard.