Green Elevators: The Futuristic Energy Saving Elevator

Historically speaking, the concept of the first elevator perhaps came from Archimedes who hooked a pulley to the top end of a large wooden box and began pulling the same. However, technological advances in the field of science have given rise to an absolutely revolutionary new crop of elevators which are eco-friendly and are aimed at catering to the environmentally conscious buyer. It has been statistically proved that elevators account for about 2% to 10% of the energy usage of a building while the building, itself, uses about 40% of the world’s energy. Thus today with people becoming more and more planet-conscious and getting to understand the full impact of the misuse of its resources, manufacturers are leaning more towards the production and sale of green elevators. It is not just the reduction in energy usage which categorizes a device as being eco-friendly or green. It also depends on the materials used, the processes adopted and the technologies involved in the manufacture of the same. Some of the major changes which manufacturers are adopting to ensure that elevators leave reduced carbon footprint are:

No machine room:

Technologies which are able to do away with the machine room, a prominent feature rising above the roof of every building housing an elevator, are being increasingly adopted. This MRL or machine room less technology is perhaps one of the most revolutionary advances in elevator technology. Today the world opts for minimalistic and miniaturistic devices and gadgets. Thus today the machine room is being housed within the elevator shaft itself thereby sparing people the expense of having to build a machine room separately. It is estimated that the energy usage of elevators using this technology will get reduced by about 80% compared to what a hydraulic lift uses. In addition to this, expenses will also get reduced as one gets to do away with the oil-filled hydraulic cylinders which were previously placed underground for the hydraulic lift to function. Some of the technologies which are in the process of being adopted to ensure the success of these MRL elevators are:
  • Gearless and low-friction hoisting mechanisms,
  • Lubrication-free operation,
  • Steel belts coated with polyurethane,
  • Roller guides etc.

Regenerative drives:

These drives are unique in their function as they aspire to recover that energy from the elevators which normally gets lost in the form of heat. After its recovery, this energy is recycled back into the building’s main electrical system thereby:
  • Producing more power for HVAC systems, lights etc. and
  • Reducing expenses by reducing dependency on machine-room cooling.
The popularity of this technology is such that most manufacturers of green elevators today use and offer this technology as a key selling point for green elevators. In fact the ability of these regenerative drives to bring about a reduction in the power consumption of the elevator during peak hours thereby contributing to the building’s operational bottom line as a whole, is perhaps its biggest advantage.

Control features:

Using the basics of physics, it can be understood that elevators carrying fewer passengers require more energy than those transporting more passengers. This anomaly can be scientifically attributed to the weight differential occurring between the elevator and the corresponding counterweight. Green elevators look at cutting down on this misuse of energy by enabling:
  • Precise traffic control with the help of computer which act to ensure that there is a reduction in the trips with light loads while at the same time ensuring that fast service too gets provided to the people using the same,
  • Regulation of internal lighting using ECO mode or energy control option which has the ability to put an elevator into standby if left unused for a specific amount of time and activate it again when the waiting time increases,
  • Monitoring and controlling the current that gets delivered to the elevator motor etc.

Outside the box:

There are no limitations to what can be done to ensure that elevators become eco-friendly. These efforts are also not limited to addressing the in-shaft technology. External factors too have a role to play in the reduction of carbon footprint of elevators. Thus manufacturers today incorporate green values into their facilities and even allow customers to evaluate:
  • The energy efficiency of the manufacturing facilities,
  • The management practices adopted for its service fleet,
  • The remote monitoring systems that they have and
  • Other support systems as required.
It can thus be rightly said that from being eco-neutral to being eco-conscious, elevators have really come a long way. And with green technology being the buzzword, the popularity of the green elevator is no longer a myth; it is a reality.