Electronically Commutated Motor (ECM)

CCHT has been used to evaluate the impact of electronically commutated motors (ECM) on electrical and gas energy. An energy simulation model was used to generalize the results to an entire year, for both mid- and high-efficiency furnaces for R-2000, typical new, typical existing, and typical row housing. In general, the results for houses that operate the furnace fan in continuous circulation mode can be summarized as follows:

ECM Motor Installation

ECM Motor Installation

In Winnipeg, which has the lowest electricity (and gas) prices, net savings due to an ECM are the smallest, ranging from $14 to $30 per year without air conditioning, and $81 to $106 with air conditioning. In Moncton, with the highest electricity (and gas) prices, the net savings in houses without air conditioning are the highest at $38 to $75, but the net savings with air conditioning are intermediate at $144 to $182. In Toronto, with intermediate electrical (and gas) prices, the net savings without air conditioning are intermediate ($40 to $ 68), but the savings with air conditioning are the highest ($147 to $180). So net annual savings from an ECM can vary from $14 to $180 depending on the price of electricity and other factors. In detached houses, net savings are almost always higher in the more energy-efficient ones, and are higher with high-efficiency furnaces.

In addition, ECMs would allow the types of houses tested to switch to continuous circulation with no significant increase - usually a decrease - in utility bills. Continuous circulation provides benefits of more even distribution of fresh air and temperatures, and is especially important in houses that use the furnace fan to distribute fresh air to the house. Thus, ECMs can be part of a package promoting better circulation, comfort and health.

The results demonstrated that ECMs can save the typical homeowner money on overall energy costs, and offer benefits to the environment through reductions in greenhouse gases associated with conventional electric power generation.

The results also demonstrate the usefulness of the CCHT houses for carrying out important research projects on overall energy use, and their very sensitive ability to measure secondary and tertiary results of a very small change in one of the houses.

For information regarding ECM testing, please refer to the following documents:

Report

ARCHIVED - Final Report on the Project to Measure the Effects of ECM Furnace Motors on Gas Use at the CCHT Research Facility (PDF format, 8.5 MB)
Gusdorf, J. Swinton, M.C. Simpson, C. Entchev, E. Hayden, S. Castellan, B.
pp. 1 v. (various pagings). 2003-08-21

Papers

ARCHIVED - The Impact of ECM furnace motors on natural gas use and overall energy use during the heating season at CCHT research facility (PDF format, 426 KB)
Gusdorf, J. Swinton, M.C. Entchev, E. Simpson, C. Castellan, B.
Gas Technology Institute's First Annual Natural Gas Technologies Conference and Exhibition (Orlando, Florida, 2002-09-29)
pp. 1-66. 2002-10-01

Gusdorf, J.; Swinton, M.; Simpson, C.; Entchev, E.; Hayden, S.; Furdas, D.; Castellan, B.; "Saving Electricity and Reducing GHG Emissions with ECM Furnace Motors: Results from the CCHT and Projections to various Houses and Locations" Proceedings, ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings 2004, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (Pacific Grove, CA., U.S.A. August, 2004), pp. 129-140.

Research Highlight

Effects of ECM Furnace Motors on Electricity and Gas Use (PDF format, 240 KB)