Workplace lifts use 36% more energy than expected

31 May 2016 | James Richards

Workplace lifts are burning 36 per cent more energy within office buildings than predicted by manufacturers and standards, according to a study. 

The report, Smarter Buildings: Real-world energy use of lifts/elevators in contemporary office buildings, released on Monday, was complied by lift consultants SVM associates and StepJockey, a corporate wellness business which encourages exercise in the workplace as well as reducing carbon emissions

According to the findings, lifts use significantly more energy than predicted by standards. Geared traction lifts are cited as being the worst offenders, with these systems using 36 per cent more than expected. 

The report says commercial buildings account for half of the UK’s energy consumption, and that lifts make up 8 per cent of an office building’s energy use, meaning “excess energy cost and associated carbon emissions is potentially enormous.”

But the research does not suggest that lift manufacturers are manipulating data. Instead, “the problem seems to sit with international standards which use ideal rather than real-world lift/elevator traffic scenarios to estimate total energy use.”

The report also speculates that changes in work patterns, such as flexible working, hot-desking, and a proliferation of breakout areas has also contribute to inflated energy consumption. This is because more inter-floor journeys are putting more pressure on lift provision and contributing to longer waiting times. 

Employees should be encouraged to take the stairs, which the report says would contribute to health and wellbeing. 

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