Improvements in elevator technology make it possible for buildings to use less energy to operate their systems, thereby reducing costs and helping the environment.
Many elevator companies offer retrofitting options to upgrade existing elevator technology. This generally involves replacing older motors and drives with newer versions that use less electricity and produce less heat, which reduces costs for cooling the hoistway machine room.
Regenerative drives in newer elevator systems feed energy back into the building. The braking action against the counterweight while the cab is ascending and against the loaded cab while the elevator is descending allows power to be used to run other systems in the building. Regenerative drives are most effective when ascending with light loads and descending with heavy loads.
Other drive systems can also reduce energy costs. Alternating-current variable-frequency drives use less energy and operate cleaner than traditional direct-current drives. Newer forms of direct-current inverter drives use less energy than older versions.
Businesses are also cutting costs by reducing energy use for lighting and fans in their elevators. Newer in-cab lighting systems use LED units, rather than traditional incandescent bulbs. Another system turns off lighting and fans when the elevator is not in use and restarts them when someone calls the elevator.
Hydraulic elevators can be made greener by using biodegradable vegetable-based oils. Replacing older drives with modern ones can also improve indoor air quality.
The elevators that are installed in newer buildings can come with many standard green features included. Machine-room-less elevators use less energy and require less ventilation than elevators that use machine rooms. New hoisting technologies can also cut energy costs. Regenerative drives come standard in many commercial elevators. Soft-start technology to power variable-frequency drives can reduce operating costs. Units controlled by microprocessors can be used instead of less energy-efficient mechanical relays.
Elevator technology is advancing rapidly, offering business owners the opportunity to cut their energy costs significantly, thus protecting the environment and helping their bottom line.