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Basics & Theory

HPAC: Overview Of Electric Motors
Heating Plumbing & Air Conditioning magazine provides a basic overview of the common motors used in the HVAC/R industry.

US DOE: ECM Air Handler Fans Save Energy
US Department of Energy describes how an HVAC system with a central air handler fan can realize significant energy savings by using a fan with an electronically commutated (ECM) motor.
Issues & Performance

Building Science: ECM Efficiency May Be Better Or Worse
Building Science says electrically commutated motors (ECM) in air-handler fans promise improved efficiency, but describes how improved technology may not necessarily mean efficient HVAC systems.

CMHC: Effects Of Programmable Fan Controllers On Air Distribution & Energy Use
CMHC research project assessed a low-cost, commercially available programmable fan controller in combination with conventional PSC (permanent split capacitor) fan motors as a means of reducing motor energy use in existing furnaces. Results indicate that, compared to continuous circulation, intermittent modes continue to supply some air circulation while saving energy. (PDF)

NEMA: Premium Motors Standards
National Electrical Manufacturers Association provides information on the NEMA Premium Motors program.

NRCan: Proposed Regulations For Electric Motors
Natural Resources Canada proposes more stringent minimum energy performance standards for electric motors imported or shipped inter-provincially for sale or lease in Canada, and to expand the scope to include motors which were previously excluded from the Regulations.
Procedures

US DOE: Evaluation of Retrofit Variable-Speed Furnace Fan Motors
US Department of Energy report Evaluation of Retrofit Variable-Speed Furnace Fan Motors evaluated brushless, permanent magnet (BPM) replacement motors for residential furnaces. Results indicate that BPM replacement motors will be most cost effective in homes with right-sized HVAC equipment and proper ductwork. Additionally, more dramatic savings can be realized if the occupants use fan-only operation to circulate air when there is no thermal load. (PDF)
Product Supply

CMHC: Study On ECPM Furnace Motors Effect On Electricity & Gas Use
The Canadian Centre for Housing Technology study evaluates the performance of high efficiency electric motors to determine their impact on electricity and gas consumption. The results indicate that this technology offers significant benefits in houses where the furnace fan is operated continuously during both the heating and cooling seasons. (PDF)

US DOE: Replacement Of Variable-Speed Motors For Furnaces
US Department of Energy study Replacement of Variable-Speed Motors for Furnaces Based recommends BPM motor upgrades only in special circumstances in cold climate homes where: occupants use the furnace fan often for ventilation or filtration; there is a large cooling load; where the furnace or air conditioner, or both, are right-sized and run nearly 2,000 hours per year. (PDF)
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