Motors, pumps and fans

Electric motors are responsible for the majority of electricity consumption in the industrial sector.

In total, experts estimate that electric motors account for nearly 30% of total electricity consumption in Australia for all sectors. Typical industrial applications include crushing, grinding, mixing, fans, pumps, materials conveying, air compressors and refrigeration. They are also used extensively in the commercial sector for air conditioning, ventilation, refrigeration, water pumping, lifts and escalators.

Potential energy savings in pump and fan systems can be as much as 50% through improved efficiency in operation, configuration of the equipment and optimisation of the system as a whole.

Variable speed drives (VSDs) reduce energy use at times when the full capacity of the motor is not required and are ideal where speed or load is variable. VSDs offer considerable potential for savings, for example reducing the motor speed by 20% reduces the operating cost by up to 50%.

Case studies

Many businesses have managed to significantly cut their energy use and associated bills by improving the efficiency of fans, pumps and motors. To find out how, view Sustainability Victoria's case studies.

Useful resources

Sustainability Victoria’s Energy Efficiency Best Practice Guide for pumping systems (PDF, 1.1MB) is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to improving energy efficiency in motors, pumps and fans. This guide helps businesses determine the limitations of their existing systems and guides through the process towards finding the best solution in improving their existing system or designing a new system.

The Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA) has produced a series of '5 Minute Guides to energy efficiency'. The guide to Pumps, motors and fans provides simple and practical guidance to reduce the energy consumption of these systems.