How to Make a Greener Lift

Green lifts are an essential part of society, especially in terms of urban or city living. As lift technology has continued to evolve, green lifts have increasingly been installed to make buildings more energy efficient and keep costs low.

From climate change and global warming to the current cost-of-living crisis that has caused energy prices to soar, now is a better time than ever to invest in greener lifts. 

So, if you are a property owner or someone responsible for the lifts in a property, how can energy-efficient lifts be achieved?

What Is a Green Lift or Eco-Friendly Lift?

Firstly, let us explore what a green or eco-friendly lift is. Green lifts, also known as green elevators, are simply elevators that are sustainable with low energy consumption compared to standard lifts. 

Did you know that a 15-second lift journey consumes around the same amount of energy as a 60W light bulb does in an hour?

Whilst this may not seem too drastic, in the long term, this can certainly be a costly venture – especially as energy prices continue to rise. To counteract this, you will find that the carbon footprint of a green or eco-friendly lift is significantly less than that of a standard lift that does not include energy-efficient features. 

As a result, if you are looking to save money on energy bills when it comes to lift usage, then it might be a good idea to think about making your lifts greener. 

How to Make a Greener Lift

The Benefits of Green Lifts

Undecided about making your lifts greener? Perhaps this will help you out – here are the key benefits that come with installing green lifts within your property:

  • Achieve better energy performance – Green lifts, as they suggest, are energy efficient, meaning that they perform much better (energy-wise) than hydraulic or traction lifts without such features.
  • Save money in the long run – As less energy is being consumed whenever the lift is in use, this can help save money when it comes to overhead and operational costs of the lift. You can expect a great return on investment (ROI) with green lifts as the initial costs of green upgrades are offset by the amount of money that you could save in running costs. 
  • Minimise environmental impact – The fact that green lifts are sustainable means that their construction, installation, and usage result in a lower carbon footprint than if you were to implement a conventional lift. If you are looking to incorporate greener practices into a workplace, for instance, then adding green lifts is definitely one way to do this.
  • Add value to property – Regardless of whether you own commercial or residential premises, green lifts will certainly add value to your building because of their energy-efficient capabilities. For apartment owners or homeowners in particular, this is something to consider if you are planning to install/upgrade the lifts within your apartment complex or house.

If you would like to reap the advantages of green lifts, a leading lift company like the team here at Sheridan Lifts will be happy to assist. 

The Types of Green Lifts

There are many features and variables that can determine how green or sustainable a lift is. In that sense, there are multiple types of green lifts that are available – particularly as the collection of lifts that can be installed is vast as well. 

So, what types of green lifts are there?

Passenger Lifts

Eco-friendly passenger lifts are probably the most common type of green lift that you will find and use. These lifts simply transport people to and from different floors of a building – whether that is an apartment block, office building, or even a shopping centre. 

Passenger lifts can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but their main purpose is public-facing – to move passengers – with most having a capacity for 8 to 12 passengers. In terms of a green passenger lift, it will simply have the same functionality as a standard passenger lift, but will come with energy-saving characteristics that reduce energy consumption without compromising the safety or comfort of passengers. 

Platform Lifts

When it comes to providing adequate access within buildings for those with disabilities, green platform lifts are useful for this. They can be applied in many settings and are able to move both goods and passengers. Keep in mind, however, that platform lifts are often smaller in size, so they are not suitable for transporting extremely heavy loads or a large number of passengers. 

Platform lifts in general are energy efficient, but their sustainability can be further improved with additional features that boost energy performance. Green platform lifts are beneficial for the transport of:

  • Passengers with physical disabilities, including those with wheelchairs, that prevent them from using the stairs – platform lifts offer greater comfort and space compared to normal passenger lifts where they might have to share the space with others 
  • Families with prams or strollers
  • Passengers with injuries – those with crutches and casts/slings would benefit from a spacious platform lift instead of a crowded passenger lift
  • Goods and merchandise – small-to-medium-sized deliveries in particular 

Service Lifts

There are undoubtedly a large number of different service lifts available, designed to accommodate a variety of needs and applied in various settings. Green service lifts, especially larger ones, are able to carry heavy goods and equipment from one floor to another at an energy-efficient rate. 

No matter the sector – from hospitality to retail, construction and beyond – service lifts are beneficial as they can help a company meet manual handling regulations, as well as health and safety requirements. 

Providing employees with the ability to use a service lift to transport goods and equipment minimises the risk of potential injury from having to manually carry these goods to and from different floors by themselves. 

The fact that these service lifts are also eco-friendly is simply an additional advantage of having green service lifts within a workplace. 

How to Make a Greener Lift

Design Considerations for Green Lifts

There are many factors that determine how green or eco-friendly a lift is. In fact, the BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) rating system assesses and rates the sustainability of a building project regarding lifts and escalators. 

Independent licensed assessors take note of environmental issues and give points or credits depending on the sustainability of a project – the higher rating level and overall score means that they deem your project to have a sustainable approach. 

So, how can lifts be designed in a way that embodies sustainability and ultimately earn a high BREEAM rating?

Energy Efficiency

You might be tired of reading ‘energy-efficient features’, but we cannot stress the importance of these enough when it comes to designing green lifts. A key aspect of a green lift is its ability to reduce energy consumption and one way to do this is through the implementation of energy-saving measures like:

  • LED lights – LED lighting, in comparison to halogen, fluorescent, or transcendent light bulbs, performs better (energy-wise). LED lights also have a longer lifespan, removing the need to replace the light bulbs frequently.
  • Regenerative drive systems – Energy that is not being used up is conserved and fed back into the system instead of simply being lost like in a hydraulic lift system, ensuring that energy is being used efficiently and effectively.
  • Activation of standby mode – When the lift is not in use, the lift will automatically go into standby mode to save energy that could be lost from simply keeping the lift powered on at all times. You can expect less carbon emissions as a result.

The above features, plus the incorporation of the following design considerations, can help your project achieve a high BREEAM rating and make sure that your lifts are sustainable and ready for the future.

Environmental Impact

Compared to standard lifts, green lifts mitigate the negative environmental impact of a building. In particular, it reduces the carbon footprint below what it would’ve been with a standard lift.

For example, a hydraulic lift will typically use oil that is pushed into the cylinder that allows the piston to raise and lower the lift car. The oil is an important part of the hydraulic system, but this could potentially have a negative impact on the environment, especially if it leaks or spills into the soil or groundwater.

Whilst there have been developments when it comes to hydraulic fluids and making these less toxic to the environment, it is still something to consider. Green lifts eliminate this risk by using systems that do not require hydraulic fluid, such as regenerative drive lifts. 

Maximum Comfort and Safety Features

All lifts must adhere to relevant lift regulations and standards, and the same is applicable to green lifts. Despite their main aim being to improve energy efficiency, this doesn’t compromise other aspects of the lift itself – including the comfort and safety of passengers. 

At Sheridan Lifts, we provide bespoke lift installations with features designed according to your preferences – and this is true for the sustainability lifts we manufacture too. Comfort and safety meet luxury with green lift installations by our team of professional lift experts. 

Sustainable Materials Used in Lift Construction

When constructing green lifts, interiors are frequently created with recycled or reused materials, leaving a smaller carbon footprint during construction. Other sustainable methods such as using water-based paint when decorating the interior and/or exterior of the lifts and surrounding areas can also contribute to greener lift practices.

Using sustainable materials means that there is less waste during the construction of a green lift. Appropriate waste management should also be considered by the engineer team during the install to ensure the sustainability of the project throughout. 

Traffic Design Criteria for High Usage Areas

Although it is critical that lifts should be eco-friendly, especially if you are attempting to minimise your carbon emissions, a green lift also needs to be able to function competently. 

As a result, current lift traffic design criteria must be reviewed in order to design systems that reduce energy usage and are tailored to actual traffic flow instead of hypothetical traffic flow. 

This means that green lift systems can operate efficiently and effectively even in high usage areas because such systems were designed specifically to accommodate heavy traffic. 

Installing a New Green Lift

At Sheridan Lifts, there are two key ways we can make your lift better for the environment – either by installing a brand-new green lift or installing new, energy-efficient parts as part of a lift refurb. 

Now that you know what green lifts are and how these lifts can benefit your business, you’ll likely be wondering about the installation process. 

Well, you’re in the right place – let’s get to it. 

The Lift Installation Process

Purchasing a new green lift is quite the investment – so, here is a short overview of how the lift installation process works. 

For more detail, you can also check out our step-by-step lift installation guide

1. Plan

Every lift installation begins with thorough research into your personal wants, needs, and requirements. 

During your discussion with one of our lift experts, we’ll ask you things like: 

  • What type of building or company is this for? 
  • How many levels will the lift need to travel? 
  • What will be transported in the lift – people, goods, materials, or equipment?
  • If it is a passenger lift, what demographics will typically operate the lift? 
  • What is the building population during peak times?

In doing so, we can figure out:

  • Which type of lift will be optimal for your needs – for example, passenger lifts, platform lifts, or service lifts, as mentioned previously. 
  • Access and accessibility requirements – such as step-free access and compliant level access.
  • Lift traffic design criteria – how many lifts you need for optimised working practices or to effectively keep up with footfall.
  • Load-bearing capacity requirements.
  • Ideal journey times – how far and fast it needs to move.

At this point, we will also discuss any aesthetic considerations, such as the colour or material of the lift. 

If a standard lift just doesn’t quite cut it, our lift experts can advise whether a bespoke option and tailored products might be a better solution

To discuss your needs with an expert, book your initial consultation with Sheridan Lifts today

2. Survey 

After both parties have a clearer understanding of what will work best for the scenario at hand, a surveyor will visit the building to take an in-depth look at the proposed area of installation. 

The purpose of this visit is to ensure that it is safe to install a lift in the building – and, more specifically, if the installation area has the necessary strength and support to safely house a lift. 

The installation area must also be spacious enough that our qualified lift engineers can safely install the lift during those busier times onsite without impacting the health and safety of themselves or others. 

What happens if the installation area turns out to be unsuitable? 

Don’t worry – if the surveyor deems the area to be unsuitable for lift installation, they will be able to take a look at the building and suggest viable alternatives. 

These alternative sites will be presented to you so that you can ultimately choose the site that maximises productivity and safety. 

3. Set Columns 

Engineers will arrive onsite and set the columns required for your chosen type of lift. 

4. Carriage Installation 

Once the columns have been set, the engineers will mark on the columns where the carriage will be placed. 

Top tip — You might hear the carriage alternatively referred to as an elevator cab, cabin, cage, or car. 

The carriage will then be installed inside the columns exactly where it was marked. 

5. Drive System 

As a general rule of thumb, the drive system of the lift will be installed next. That said, this totally depends on the type of drive system that has been chosen for your lift. 

Common drive systems include: 

  • Hydraulic drive systems 
  • Traction drive systems 
  • Regenerative drive systems
  • Screw and nut drive systems 
  • Encapsulated chain drive systems

The drive system most suitable for the project largely depends on current lift traffic design and what will fit most comfortably within the elevator shafts. 

With this in mind, it’s important to note that the placement of this step can vary on a case-by-case basis. However, you can be rest assured that our engineers are highly skilled and experienced, and can effectively adapt our processes to your chosen lift and drive system. 

6. Weld Gates and Enclosures 

Gates and enclosures are essential safety features for lifts. 

At this point in the installation process, gates and enclosures will be securely welded into place to prevent injury and minimise the risk of accidents. 

7. Wiring 

Next, any and all electrical aspects will be wired up (if they haven’t been done already). 

During the process, the engineer will check to make sure that all the buttons work, and that the lift moves efficiently between levels. In other words, they check to make sure that the lift works as it should. 

8. Inspection and Demonstration

Though the lift’s electrics have already been tested, the next step is to undergo a thorough inspection of all the working parts of the lift. This will ensure that the lift is both operational and safe. 

Afterwards, we’ll give you a demonstration of how to operate the lift – and what to do in an emergency – so that you, your employees, and visitors are well prepared for all lift trips in your brand new lift. 

Have any questions or concerns about the installation process? Talk to one of our experts today. 

Lift Refurbishment as an Eco-Friendly Alternative to a New Lift

If you have had your lift for a long time, chances are you have an ‘older-style’ lift, which typically uses an energy-hungry motor. 

However, over the past decade, the demand for environmentally friendly products and alternatives has grown exponentially. As such, new technology is seemingly almost constantly being developed and innovated to meet consumer and businesses’ demands for energy efficiency – and this is no different with lifts. 

That said, getting a new lift can be carbon-fuelled in itself – though, of course, opting for a green lift will benefit the environment in the long term. Just consider the emissions from transporting heavy loads onto the premises. 

Instead, you might find that refurbishing and modernising your lift will be both an eco-and budget-friendly alternative

But, what refurbishments can make your lift more environmentally friendly? 

Motors and Drives 

If your type of lift operates using motors and/or drives, refurbishing these elements can improve both the efficiency and quality of the ride. 

It is usually possible to refurbish existing motors and drives to make them more energy efficient. However, the lift will be unusable for the duration of the refurbishment. 

Instead, you might fully replace the motor or drive with a brand new solution. This will allow you to take advantage of all the latest technology at the time of the refurb – namely, things like energy-efficient and regenerative drive systems


If you have a hydraulic-powered lift, your refurbishment can modernise the hydraulic system. 

Refurbishing hydraulic systems often includes replacing: 

  • Valves
  • Ram seals
  • Hydraulic valve blocks 

In doing so, you can ensure the lift is operating efficiently, ultimately reducing energy consumption and waste. 

To make your lift even more environmentally-friendly, you might also consider using biodegradable oils in the hydraulic pump — we’ll recommend whether this option or another clean energy solution is suitable for your lift depending on the project at hand. 


Did you know, incandescent lighting only converts around 5% of its energy into light – the other 95% is wasted as heat?

Halogen bulbs operate at a higher temperature than incandescent bulbs, making them slightly more efficient, but still very wasteful.

For this reason, these types of lights are being phased out of production. If you have this kind of lighting in your lift, you might want to consider switching to a more energy-efficient alternative. 

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are largely considered to be the first energy-efficient bulb. However, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are even more energy efficient, as they convert around 80-90% of their energy into light. 

Switching to LED lighting in your lift – be it LED downlights, spotlights, or panel lights – will typically use at least 75% less energy than traditional lighting solutions, and therefore can provide an additional energy saving. 

Control Buttons & Electric Components

Upgrading your lift’s controller and control buttons can reduce overall energy usage, and so vastly improve the efficiency of the mechanism. 

This upgrade can also improve the ride quality and compliance of the lift. 

There are many other electrical components in your lift that can be modernised to make your lift more environmentally friendly, which, if you’re on a tighter budget, will be quicker wins than installing a brand new green lift. 

Interested in a lift refurbishment? Get in touch to see how we can modernise your lift and make it more energy efficient. 

How to Make a Greener Lift

Choosing the Right Lift for Your Business with Sheridan Lifts

Green lifts are undoubtedly the future of lifts, especially since there are growing tensions and concerns regarding climate change and energy prices. To future-proof any lifts that you might have on your commercial or residential premises, it would be a good idea to make your lifts greener. 

Sheridan Lifts is a UK leading provider of a wide range of lift services including lift installation, refurbishment, and maintenance and repairs. With over 40 years of experience under our belt, you can count on us to deliver excellent lift services, including the construction and installation of green lifts at your property. 

For more info or should you have any questions about our installation services, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. A member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.