Elevators and escalators use only 2-5 percent of the energy in most buildings, but can reach as high as 50 percent during peak operational times, according to a new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The “Advancing Elevator Energy Efficiency” report was published with the support of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, the parent organization of Otis, a maker of commercial elevators.
Technology exists today to reduce elevator energy consumption by 40 percent or more, especially by cutting energy use between trips, when an elevator is idle, according to the study. Some technologies have been found to reduce consumption by as much as 75 percent, but without a standard way to measure energy savings and a rating system to distinguish more efficient elevators, building owners may be unaware of the benefits of upgrading to a more efficient system or choosing a more efficient system for new construction.
As almost all elevators are idle far more than they are moving, reducing standby power, such as by turning off lights and cab ventilation systems, can be relatively inexpensive and dramatically cut total energy use. In addition, new technologies, such as coated steel belts that replace cable ropes in some elevators, allow for more efficient operation. Advanced dispatching software can improve the customer experience by reducing wait time while cutting energy use in half compared to traditional systems, according to the report.
Photo: Elevators via Shutterstock