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Smarter buildings: report on lift energy demand and use of stairs to reduce it

Lifts/elevators in modern office buildings are burning as much as 36% more energy than previously believed, new research suggests.

The new research - carried out by StepJockey and specialist lift consultants SVM Associates - comes in the wake of a recent government-funded study which found buildings routinely emitting 3.5 times more carbon than they should.

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The Smarter Buildings study compared on-site measurements of real lift/elevator energy consumption with predictions from the industry standard for estimating lift/elevator energy use. The study found:

  • Lifts/elevators burned 16% to 36% more energy in real-world use than the de facto international standard predicts. 
  • The most commonly installed lift type – geared traction lifts – were the worst offenders. The gap between predicted and measured energy consumption was 36%.
  • Changing working patterns such as flexi-time and hot desking appear to have increased pressure on lift/elevator systems by increasing inter-floor journeys and energy use. 
  • Energy costs could be significantly mitigated by promoting stair use 

The study also shows how diverting people away from lifts through stair promotion schemes can significantly reduce lift/elevator energy costs while simultaneously creating productivity savings and boosting workplace health.

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