If your hotel, retail or office space, or industrial facility is equipped with an elevator that is older than the artifacts being housed in the museum across the street, it’s probable that you’re spending more than you should just trying to run it. Few people realize that elevators can consume between 4–7% of the total energy load in an office building, depending on the size and frequency of use. That’s not a huge number but it’s certainly nothing you can ignore if you’re looking to make your business a more efficient one.

The elevator manufacturers of today have taken big steps in developing energy-efficient technologies that will help lower your energy costs. Here’s what you need to know about installing an energy-efficient elevator in your business.

What makes an elevator energy-efficient?

According to ASME, in recent years elevator manufacturers have managed to reduce the overall amount of energy used by elevators by implementing various control strategies. Examples of these include software and microprocessor based controls or in-cab sensors that turn off the lights, ventilation, music and video screens when the elevator is not being used; the installation of double-deck or twin systems (where one cab stops at even floors and the other at odd floors) that lower energy usage by reducing the numbers of stops being made by each cab; and the installation of regenerative drives that recycle energy rather than wasting it as heat. Changes such as these can lead to as much as 86% energy savings in standby operation.

One of the most significant changes in terms of efficiency in elevator design is the development of machine room-less traction elevators. In these elevators, all the equipment normally stored in a machine room above the elevator now fit into the hoistway, saving space and eliminating the need to build and supply energy to a machine room (inevitably lowering costs).

Energy-efficient elevators increasingly in demand

Mary Ryan, Senior Product Manager for New Equipment in North America at Otis Elevator Co. suggests that the combination of energy-efficiency and quiet, more flexible designs are making energy-efficient elevators more in demand than ever before. Ryan says: “We are definitely seeing an increased demand for the latest green technologies.” ASME suggests that other manufacturers including Kone Corp, Schindler Elevator and ThyssenKrupp Elevator have all developed similar technologies designed for the US market.

Case study: Hyatt Palace Hotel Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Technology that is already used widely throughout Europe has taken more time to reach North America due to processes surrounding building codes and regulations. According to Thyssen Krupp, energy-efficient elevators which also happen to be environmentally friendly are required in many buildings to meet various certification including LEED, BREEAM and DGNB. According to the manufacturer, projects in America and Germany show a reduction in power consumption of up to 70% and in some cases, even higher.

According to Energy Manager, ThyssenKrupp Elevator company recently installed two modern elevators equipped with gearless drives, modern control systems with energy recuperation, and LED lighting in the Hyatt Palace Hotel Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. The result was a drop of 56% in energy consumption with improved drive performance and ride quality.

In Germany, RWE, a utilities provider headquartered in Essen wanted to update four elevators that had been installed in the 1980susing more energy-efficient models. The elevators were equipped with new control and drive systems, gearless synchronized drives and energy recovery systems, saving the company over 70% in energy costs.

Questions or comments about installing an energy-efficient elevator? Leave them below!

 image credit: hannahabc