Energy Efficient Elevator Design

Nowadays, building design is more focused than ever on energy efficiency in the form of insulation, solar panelled roofing and network lighting. High-rise building projects tend to overlook the efficiency of its elevators, mainly due to the fact they only account for about 5-11% of the building total energy usage.

The world’s top elevator manufacturers are now producing premium elevators for mid and high-rise buildings that are as energy efficient as possible; and even being capable of generating energy for the building they are in. With improved controls, hardware and improvements in other systems elevators are now using less energy as well as being more compact and efficient.

How do companies overcome problems with wasted energy usage? Control strategies can be a major factor in utilising energy more effectively:

  • Electromechanical relays have been replaced with software and microprocessor based controls
  • When unoccupied the elevators in-cab sensors automatically place the machine in an idle mode: turning off lights, ventilation, music and video screens
  • Control software dealing with destination dispatch organises the stops in the most logical way; minimising wait time and making fewer stops means the number of elevators required is greatly reduced

As software has improved, so too has the hardware. Regenerative drives are a remarkable advancement in technology as they recycle energy rather than waste it.

Magnet motors are capable of bidirectional energy flow. This motor creates a lifting torque on the shaft and elevator sheave, lifting the carriage; but when it travels back down, the motor acts as a generator, transferring the mechanical power into electrical power and recycling it back into the buildings electrical grid.

When an elevator goes up with a light load and down with a heavy one it means that it can actually produce more power than it uses. The energy savings may seem small on one trip; but over longer periods of time the savings are sizeable.

Lift company designs on energy efficient elevators are a must for the future; with designers making strides towards an energy efficient future.