Federal Standards for Circulator Pumps Released May 2024


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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the final federal standards for residential and commercial circulator pumps on May 21, 2024. The standards—which fall under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA)—recognize that compliant equipment will provide significant energy savings and maximum improvements in energy efficiency, and are technologically and economically sound.

The standards go into effect on August 5, 2024, and compliance with the final rule is required as of May 22, 2028.

What You Need to Know

The new standard applies to circulator pumps and equipment manufactured in, or imported into, the United States as of the May 2028 date. To comply with the standard, manufacturers will need to switch over to circulators with electronically commutated motors (ECM) or equivalent performance. ECMs use permanent magnets and electronics to spin the motor and are more efficient than permanent-split capacitor induction motors—an older technology still used in many circulator models. ECM circulators with integrated sensors enable precise flow control based on several factors, including temperature, pressure, and schedule to better meet the water flow needs for each application.

ECMs can reduce power consumption 30% to 50%, compared to a traditional motor. Adding advanced speed controls can lower it by as much as 75%, compared to an older model.[1]

To best highlight the energy efficiency benefits of the products, the Hydraulic Institute designed the Circulator Pump Energy Rating Label. The label provides an at-a-glance synopsis of important features such as available controls, estimated energy savings, and the Circulator Energy Index, which compares the consumption power of the specific product to a traditional circulator. Learn more about the significance of the Circulator Pump Energy Rating Label.

In addition to requirements, the standards also cover the following information:

  • Benefits and costs to consumers, including lifecycle cost savings and simple payback periods.
  • Impact on manufacturers and estimated cost for the industry to bring equipment into compliance.
  • National benefits and costs, including lifetime energy savings for circulator pumps, estimated total value of future operating-cost savings, and “significant” environmental, climate, and monetized health benefits.

“We applaud the coordinated efforts of pump manufacturers, the Hydraulic Institute, and the U.S. DOE to finalize this first-ever federal standard for circulator efficiency, Many Northwest pump users have already adopted this technology, and now millions of businesses around the country can also experience the lower circulator energy costs and other benefits,” said Warren Fish, Extended Motor Products program manager at Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

Read and download the official Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Circulator Pumps.

[1] Analysis of the Regional Technical Forum circulator Unit Energy Savings measures. https://rtf.nwcouncil.org/meas...

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