Home » Study Sees Scope for Greater Elevator Energy Efficiency
A new study published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) suggests that more energy efficient elevators can significantly reduce the total costs of operating a building, but the information required to help building owners identify the appropriate elevator system and the savings associated with it are not readily available.
Generally, elevators and escalators consume up to 2-5 percent of the energy used in most buildings. However, this can reach a maximum of 50 percent especially during peak operational times. Energy consumption of 5 percent means the yearly energy utilization of U.S. elevators is approximately 5 times higher than that used in all of Washington D.C.
The new technology that exists today reduces energy consumption by more than 40 percent. This is done by cutting energy use between trips, when the lift remains idle. On the other hand, some technologies can probably reduce the energy use almost 75 percent. But, the ACEEE argues that without a standard way to measure energy savings and a specific rating system to determine which devices are more efficient, building owners may be quite unaware about the potential benefits of upgrading to a more efficient system or selecting a new efficient system for construction.
The study’s lead author ACEEE senior fellow Harvey Sachs says, “Enhanced visibility when it comes to elevator efficiency can help customers grasp the full value package of better controls, improved performance, reduced sound and higher comfort”.
The study highlights the need for industry leaders to set common standards for measuring elevator efficiency. Adequate and clear standards could lead to a specific rating system. In addition, these standards would lead energy utilities and government agencies to offer incentives such as rebates, particularly for top efficient models. This is all the more significant as building label programs such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® program considers elevator efficiency as a factor in certifying buildings.
The study found that energy-efficient elevator technologies can be included in building codes and factored in rating and labeling systems. Most elevators are idle far more than they moving. Hence, decreasing standby power by turning off cab lights and cab ventilation systems can prove to be relatively inexpensive and significantly reduce energy use. In addition, use of new technologies such as coated steel belts in place of cable ropes in some devices would allow more efficient operation. When compared to traditional systems, advanced dispatching software can improve the customer experience by decreasing wait time and slashing energy use.
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