Elevator Energy Use

January/February 2010
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2010 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 08, 2010
Did you know that you use more energy going down an elevator than going up it?
Elevators are one of the many technologies that had to be developed before buildings could get taller than a few stories, but until now, there was no information available on how much electricity you use by taking a ride in one. The short answer is that some new elevators use more than 30 times as much electricity as other new elevators, but the best ones use less than the lighting energy used for taking the stairs (assuming that the stairways are equipped with motion sensor lighting, as they should be). A good elevator uses so little electricity to move the cab that it may use more to operate the fan and lights—something the industry should be proud of. The best elevators are so good that in most climates, most of the energy use associated with an elevator is used to heat and cool the air that leaks through the shaft. Fortunately, there are ways to significantly decrease the energy used by most elevators. Elevator Types First, it is important to choose the right type of elevator. (For an unusual elevator choice, made before the existence of passenger elevators, see “The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and ...

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