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Study highlights options for greater elevator efficiency

January 28, 2015 - A new American study has found more energy-efficient elevators could reduce the operating costs of a building but that the information needed to help builders identify the right elevator system are not readily available.


January 28, 2015
By Renée Francoeur

Elevators and escalators make up 2 to 5 per cent of the energy used in most buildings, but can reach as high as 50 per cent during peak operational times, stated the report, compiled by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEE).

At 5 percent, that means the yearly energy consumption of U.S. elevators is approximately five times of that used in all of Washington D.C., the report found.

It also noted the technology exists to reduce that consumption by 40 per cent or more 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,” said ACEEE.

The study lays out a framework for industry leaders to set common standards for measuring elevator efficiency. It also identified energy-efficient elevator technologies that can be included in building codes and factored in elevator rating and labeling systems. As almost all elevators are idle much 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.

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The independent study was presented on January 27, 2015 at the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ Winter Conference in Chicago.