Electric motors, taken together, make up the single largest end-use of electricity in the United States. In the U.S. manufacturing sector, electric motors used for machine drives such as pumps, conveyors, compressors, fans, mixers, grinders, and other materials-handling or processing equipment account for about 54% of industrial electricity consumption[1]. Additional energy is consumed in HVAC and refrigeration equipment. Electric motors provide efficient, reliable, and long-lasting service and most require comparatively little maintenance. However, despite these advantages, they can result in energy waste and excess energy costs if not properly specified and maintained.

Energy-efficient operation of industrial motor and drive-systems requires attention not just to individual pieces of equipment and components, but to the system as a whole.  A “systems approach” takes into account how the individual components interact, thereby shifting the focus from individual components to total system performance.

Top Five Energy Efficiency Measures for Motors and Drives

  1. Assess motor and drive system operating conditions
  2. Establish a motor management program (repair/replace, purchasing, inventory & tracking motor life)
  3. Provide proper maintenance as specified by the manufacturer
  4. Select the right motor for different applications
  5. Use variable speed control for motors with variable demands

You can read related TIP SHEETS AND PUBLICATIONS to improve performance and save energy, accumulated over time by the DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office.

Learn more with the MOTOR SYSTEM INFO CARD, explore additional resources specific to Better Plants partners and connect with the motors-subject matter expert below.

[1] Improving Motor and Drive System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry. Second Edition, February 2014.



Learn about innovative, replicable motors-solutions and best practices implemented by Better Plants Challenge partners.

Briggs & Stratton Corporation: Power Regeneration System

Engineers at Briggs & Stratton have pioneered an energy-saving solution at the company’s Wauwatosa reliability lab, making it one of the most advanced in the industry. In 2011, the company implemented an innovative system that captures the energy lost during engine testing and converts it into electricity that is used to power the adjacent Briggs & Stratton plant where the engines are made.


The motor and drive systems sourcebook was developed for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO). AMO undertook this project as a series of sourcebook publications. Other topics in this series include: compressed air systems, steam, fan systems, pumping, and process heating.

Improving Motor and Drive System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry

This sourcebook is designed to provide those who use motor and drive systems with a reference that outlines opportunities to improve system performance. It is not meant to be a comprehensive technical text on motor and drive systems; rather, it provides practical guidelines and information to make readers aware of potential performance improvements. Guidance on how to find more information and assistance is also included.


Subject Matter Expert - Daryl Cox

Daryl has been a member of the research staff at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) since 1990. He has been heavily involved in the analysis of failure characteristics for fluid system components used in commercial nuclear power plants. His current focus is energy optimization efforts in industrial pumping systems and managing interactions with industrial program partners in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Program for the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office. Daryl is a Qualified Specialist and Senior Instructor for the Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT) software tool and has conducted training on the tool for over a decade. Daryl is a former member of the ASME Operations & Maintenance Working Group on Air-operated valves and currently participates in codes and standards development for energy assessment of pumping systems. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He was formerly employed with the Tennessee Valley Authority, where he served on the corporate staff supporting engineering design for the nuclear power program and environmental qualification of safety-related components.

You can reach Daryl with motors-related questions at