Even though elevator systems have been getting better at conserving energy and reducing waste, a lot of the older systems – or systems that are poorly maintained – tend to waste a lot of energy.
These large amounts of wasted energy contribute to higher than necessary running costs, which most businesses can’t afford to spare. To help combat this energy loss, regenerative drive elevators could hold the answer. These systems can help to recapture some of the energy that is lost and recycle it back into the building’s power grid.
How do elevators waste energy?
Elevators can lose energy in a number of different ways. When elevators are slowed down, energy is created in the form of heat. Empty or lightly loaded elevators ascend using a motor, but it is the counterweight which is doing most of the work. For a fully loaded elevator to descend, the motor still spins, but this time it is gravity that is doing most of the work. All of this energy can be diverted back into the power grid to continue fuelling the elevator as well as other systems.
When power flows into the regenerative drive motor it creates a lifting torque on the shaft and sheave that lifts the cab. As the cab descends, the motor transforms the mechanical power to electrical power and pumps it back into the buildings power grid.
With the cab ascending with a lighter load or descending with a heavy load, the motor can actually produce more energy than it is using.
The amount of potential energy that can be saved depends on a number of different factors. The height of the building, how often the elevator is used, the amount of people who use the lift each day and the average weight of cabin loads will all influence the amount of potential savings.
The cost of installing a regenerative drive system differs, but lift installers will be able to give you an estimate after looking at your current elevator.