Inspired in large part by its partnership with the revolutionary Solar Impulse project – the zero fuel airplane aiming to fly around the world propelled only by solar energy – the Schindler Solar Elevator is a hybrid system designed to supply up to 100 percent of the elevator’s power needs from rooftop solar panels and a hybrid energy manager that stores the solar energy in batteries until needed.
During normal situations, solar panels can supply most of the Schindler Solar Elevator’s power requirements, which will vary depending on size and daily traffic. Backup power needs are provided by a one-phase grid connection that the company calls “significantly simpler and less costly” to install and operate than the standard three-phase connection.
The new solar elevator system uses a standard Schindler 3300 gearless machine room-less elevator, which is already up to 60 percent more energy efficient than hydraulic elevators. The elevator system includes many features that are designed to save energy and reduce costs: stable start; a frequency converter with an energy efficient standby power mode; controls that automatically switch car lights to standby mode and LED car lights.
In December last year, the Otis Elevator Company won a contract with W. E. O’Neil Construction to replace 24 elevators at Los Angeles International Airport with its Gen2 energy-efficient elevators and to modernize 29 additional elevators at the airport. The Gen2 machine room-less elevator reduces energy consumption by up to 50 percent compared to conventional systems, according to Otis. In addition, the Gen2 elevator reduces the system’s environmental impact because its patented polyurethane coated-steel belts, gearless machine and roller guides eliminate the need to apply lubrication. The project is slated to be complete in early 2016.
In March, ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas released details of an energy efficiency upgrade it performed on two elevators in the 20-story Hyatt Place Hotel Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. The elevators originally installed in 1974 were upgraded with high-performance gearless drives, modern control systems with energy recuperation, and energy-efficient LED cab lighting. A before and after analysis shows energy consumption was reduced by 56 percent and both drive performance and ride quality were significantly improved.