‘NEMA Premium’ accepted as federal motor purchasing standard


Motors, Drives and Motion Control

NEMA Premium identifying logo ensures purchasers that their selection of motors meets a specific level of premium efficiency, suggests NEMA.

Energy efficient motor markets deepened recently with directives from the U.S. federal government. As announced last week by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), its recommendations for mandatory federal purchase of “ NEMA Premium ” motors in federal facilities has been accepted by the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). Concurrently, FEMP issued a notice of a new standard to all federal agencies on the procurement of premium-efficient motors. Basis for the standard are comments jointly submitted by NEMA and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy . NEMA Premium is a trademarked specification of efficiency criteria for three-phase, general-purpose motors in the 1-500 hp range at inputs up to 600 V and medium-voltage 250-500 hp, special-purpose motors with inputs to 5 kV.


The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), Section 104, requires that federal agencies purchase only Energy Star-qualified products or FEMP-designated products. “This key provision requires that agencies use the premium-efficiency definition consistent with criteria for Energy Star and FEMP-designated products when specifying procurements involving energy-consuming products and systems,” notes NEMA. These specs must be used in all applicable construction, renovation, and services contracts as well as “in evaluation criteria of offers received in response to competitive solicitations.”


EPAct Section 104 also requires Energy Star and FEMP-designated products to be clearly identified and prominently displayed in any inventory or listing of products by the General Services Administration (GSA) or the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). EPAct further directs GSA and DLA to supply only such designated products, except in special, extenuating cases.


“Adoption of NEMA Premium by FEMP as the federal motors efficiency standard clearly signals our country’s willingness to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Emerson Motor Co.’s Rob Boteler, chairman of NEMA’s Motors and Generators Section Energy Management Task Force. “NEMA fully expects many industrial and commercial motors users to follow the federal example and specify only NEMA Premium motors.”


FEMP’s new specifications are based on criteria set by the NEMA Premium Efficiency Motors Program. The Consortium for Energy Efficiency ’s (CEE) Premium Efficiency Motors Initiative also applies these efficiency criteria for low-voltage motors.

Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering,

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