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Project Launch: 04/01/2020

Partner: ILLUME Advising

Qualitative research helped define the drivers and barriers for customers and energy efficiency service providers to adopting permanent magnetic alternating current fan motors in walk-in coolers and freezers.


Permanent magnetic alternating current (PMAC) motors in walk-in coolers and freezers represent a significant source of potential future savings for utility energy efficiency programs. However, the technology currently has very low market penetration. This study explored why market adoption was low and created an intervention strategy to increase it. To develop the strategy, ILLUME conducted in-depth interviews that helped the project team characterize and better understand the target market.

Results and Outcomes

The project team found several factors that contributed to the low market adoption of PMAC motors, including:

  • Customers tend to be unengaged and reliant on their energy efficiency service provider (EESP) when making refrigeration equipment decisions.
  • Lack of sufficient training and participation by refrigeration contractors has limited adoption.
  • Unaffiliated contractors are often called upon to fix electronically commutated motors or controllers that were installed through ComEd offerings.
  • Customer experience varies by EESP, and customers typically view EESPs as an extension of ComEd.

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