Commercial-Sector Adjustable-Speed Drive Market Research Study

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) contracted with Johnson Consulting Group, LLC, to conduct research assessing the market penetration of adjustable-speed drives (ASDs) paired with commercial pumps and fans in the Northwest. The primary objectives of this research were to (a) assess the proportion of commercial pumps and fans that are paired with drives; (b) assess the distribution, by horsepower and by application of commercial pumps and fans that are paired with drives; and (c) explore and document the decision-making process for the purchase and installation of drives paired with commercial pumps and fans.

Between June and December 2022, Johnson Consulting Group, LLC, conducted structured interviews with manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives, distributors, specifying/consulting engineers, contractors, and systems integrators active in the commercial ASD market in the Northwest, accompanied by a review of relevant literature and semi-structured interviews with subject-matter experts. The study found that ASD pairings were present in the majority of new construction projects but were less frequent in retrofit and replace-on-burnout projects. In addition, pairings were more common with equipment five horsepower or greater due to statewide energy code requirements. The report provides recommendations to mitigate market barriers and leverage identified opportunities. Recommendations also include ongoing engagement with key market actors in both pump and fan market sectors to optimize ASD uptake, particularly in retrofit and replace-on-burnout scenarios.

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