Reduce Greenhouse-Gas Emissions with Vertical Transportation Equipment

June 1, 2007
Several methods for reducing electricity consumption for vertical transportation equipment are available, including energy-saving technologies

By Christine Toledo

Energy is a major issue today in the United States. We are faced with the challenge of finding new energy solutions through conservation and alternative energy sources. The most effective solution is often through energy-efficiency technologies.

Buildings are one of the largest users of electricity. According to the Washington, D.C.-based Energy Information Administration, buildings account for 79 percent (or $214 billion) of total U.S. electricity expenditures. As of 2003, there were 4,859,000 commercial buildings alone. Most buildings consume a significant amount of electricity through the operation of vertical transportation equipment (elevators, escalators, and moving walks). This equipment generally runs all hours that the building is open for operation.

Several methods for reducing electricity consumption for vertical transportation equipment have been considered, including energy-saving technologies. In general, there are three alternatives to making escalators and moving walks more efficient:

1)Turn the power switch to "off."
There's no denying that the best way to save energy is to shut off the equipment. But, if the equipment needs to be running, then it obviously can't be shut off.

2)Install a variable frequency drive.
Variable frequency drives (VFDs) can positively impact energy consumption; however, they do not meet current U.S. code for escalator safety, and the additional sensors and equipment that are required to retrofit existing escalators can be expensive.

3)Install equipment that can control efficiency of the motor.
This equipment can leave the speed of the escalator unchanged, but can reduce power consumption when few riders are on it. A test by Reno, NV-based Nevada Power, the electric utility for Southern Nevada, on a 40HP escalator motor at a Las Vegas Strip casino showed a reduction in average power consumption of 37 percent (see graph) when using this type of product.

With energy efficiency and the curbing of greenhouse-gas emissions ranking among the highest national priorities, solutions for vertical transportation efficiency will continue to contribute to the overall effort to reduce power consumption.

Christine Toledo ([email protected]) is marketing communications manager at Las Vegas-based Power Efficiency Corp. (

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Buildings, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Building Better Schools

Download this digital resource to better understand the challenges and opportunities in designing and operating educational facilities for safety, sustainability, and performance...

Tips to Keep Facility Management on Track

How do you plan to fill the knowledge gap as seasoned facility managers retire or leave for new opportunities? Learn about the latest strategies including FM tech innovations ...

The Beauty & Benefits of Biophilic Design in the Built Environment

Biophilic design is a hot trend in design, but what is it and how can building professionals incorporate these strategies for the benefits of occupants? This eHandbook offers ...

The Benefits of Migrating from Analog to DMR Two-Way Radios

Are you still using analog two-way radios? Download this white paper and discover the simple and cost-effective migration path to digital DMR radios that deliver improved audio...