More business and homeowners are investing in energy efficient systems to not just reduce the costs, but also to reduce their impact on the environment. Energy-efficient elevators are a relatively new trend in this regard. Different systems and methodologies have been developed over the years to make elevator operations more cost-effective.
Regenerative Motor-based Elevators
Some of the more commonly used energy efficient elevators feature regenerative motors. Such an elevator doesn’t require any machine/control room. It makes use of dispatch control algorithms and standby modes for saving energy. As the name suggests, there is regeneration (recycling) of energy and lesser waste as heat. These systems are designed for mid-rise and high-rise buildings and provide high level of energy efficiency. Some of their key features include:
- Better controls
- Improved hardware
- Compact design
How Do they Work?
Some regenerative elevator systems feature magnet motors that enable bidirectional flow of energy. The different steps in the operation are as follows:
- The power flowing into the motor creates a lifting force on the shaft and sheave
- This lifts the carriage
- When the carriage movies down, the motor transforms the mechanical energy into electrical energy (works as a generator)
- The electrical power thus created can be used to power the elevator or other electrical systems in the building
So when the elevator moves up with a light load and then down with heavier load, the motor will generate more electrical power than what is used. The result is increased savings in the long term. Thus, you are not only going to save on energy costs, you can benefit from increased electrical power creation from the system.
Control Strategies to Reduce Energy Consumption
Besides developing energy-efficient elevator systems, there is also an emphasis on creating more efficient control strategies to reduce energy consumption. Some of the key features of such systems are as follows:
- Special sensors that automatically enable the sleep mode when the elevator is idle. During idle mode, the system will turn off the ventilation, lights, music, and any other system required only for users.
- Microprocessor and software based controls replacing electromechanical relays.
- Dispatch control systems that batch stop requests. They reduce the number of stops and minimize waiting time. This further helps in reducing the number of elevators required in a building, thus saving more energy.
There is widespread misconception that it is the motors that consume most of the electricity in elevators. Almost 60% of the energy gets consumed during the standby mode and mostly for ventilation or air-conditioning. New energy efficient elevators feature multiple systems to reduce your building’s overall energy consumption by over 30%.
Modern double-deck elevators feature two cabs, one atop another. These elevator systems are designed for mid-rise and high-rise buildings to reduce energy consumption. Each cab is calibrated to stop at either even or odd numbered floors. The result is lower energy usage as the number of required stops gets reduced. It also helps in reducing the number of elevators required.
Microgrids & Energy Optimization
A microgrid is an isolated energy system featuring different energy systems that can include traditional, renewable, and storage-based energy sources. Such systems are used at a larger scale in industrial or commercial settings to create more cost-effective, reliable, and secure energy sources, free from the unreliability of the main grid. The benefits include lower greenhouse gas emissions and lesser dependence on traditional sources of energy.
Smart Elevator Systems
Smart elevator systems are also designed to reduce energy consumption and boost operational efficiency. The smart system will group same-destination passengers to minimize usage. The elevators are connected using a centralized dispatching system. The result is lesser stop-and-go traffic. For example, passengers who want to go to Floor X can take cabin A and those who want to go to Floor Y can take cabin B.
These are some of the most popular energy efficient elevator technologies and systems. You should choose the right system based on your requirements and the type of building you have. Such modern systems can help lower your building’s energy consumption by up to 30% or even more. Consult an experienced and licensed elevator installation company to create the perfect system for your building.
Author is an experienced elevator expert with decades of experience in the Residential Elevators calgary market. He is a strong proponent of latest technology emphasizing on energy efficiency and space consumption.