Premium Motors and Motor Systems Initiatives


As motor efficiency increases, opportunities are often found in motor systems such as pumps. Source: iStockphoto

The CEE Premium Motors Initiative and CEE Motor Systems Initiative work in tandem to achieve market transformation for motor system efficiency. The Motor Systems Initiative focuses on the motivations of industrial motor systems decisionmakers; provides targeted and accessible solutions, tools, and resources; encourages customer participation in CEE member efficiency programs; and has established a forum for long-term industry advancement. A project of the initiatives, Motor Decisions Matter (MDM), packages and markets motor system efficiency project solutions in accessible formats so they can be widely disseminated and implemented by CEE member customers.

Clarity and impact are the primary drivers of the Premium Motors Initiative. Since its launch in 1996 this initiative has focused on advancing broad acceptance and adoption of high efficiency motors in the market via a CEE specification. That goal was largely realized in 2011 with the adoption of federal minimum efficiency standards for motors that were equivalent to the CEE specification. By creating a common definition of efficiency that utilities can adopt, the initiative has set clear targets for manufacturers. Participation in this initiative helps CEE members adjust programs to changing federal standards while continually exploring emerging motor technologies.

How to participate

A utility may participate in the CEE Premium Motors Initiative by including one or more of the initiative’s resources in its motors program. All motors programs, including educational and promotional, technical assistance, and incentive programs, are eligible for inclusion in the initiative. An important component of the initiative is educational materials that assist customers in making prudent motor selections.

Each utility wishing to participate in the initiative should inform CEE of its intent to use initiative resources in its programs.


CEE members strategized to overcome rising and expanding federal minimums and the need to expedite savings. In addition to providing members quick insight by listing 600+ motors with efficiency levels above federal minimum standard, the committee explored heightened motor performance levels enabled by new European standards (IEC) and by the growth of new motor technologies such as permanent magnet motors.

Compressed air systems lend themselves to development of standard program approaches, and CEE is working to develop guidelines for system audits that can be adopted by programs.

Motor Decisions Matter is going strong. In 2014 the campaign presented at two national industrial conferences, (NRCan and EASA), developed a factsheet on variable frequency drives, hosted a webinar on motor repair and published four trade press articles. Sponsors of this supplemental project plan to update the campaign’s marketing and communications strategy to promote greater awareness of efficiency opportunities at the systems level.

The CEE Premium Motors and CEE Motor Systems Initiatives are focused on capturing the greatest potential energy savings available for motor technologies. Initiative work to realize savings through prescriptive motor programs successfully enabled market transformation when federal minimum efficiency for motors was raised in 2010. CEE is now promoting a shift in focus to motor systems, including variable frequency drives, the next frontier for motor savings.