Building Management Hawaii April/May 2014 - (Page 36)

Greening Your Elevators The elevator system should play an important role in your sustainable-building strategy. By Greg Ernst elevators W hether it's a residential, commercial or institutional building, sustainability is a big trend in today's building industry. Energy use, resource efficiency, selection of materials, health and safety, and lifecycle management are all important considerations in making the transition to greener buildings. Though all products of the future will likely be environmentally and socially responsible by default, today sustainability and green-building features have the potential to set your building apart. In the past, elevators have been overlooked in green building planning-yet including them is a useful way to improve overall building functionality, efficiency and reputation. Elevators use a relatively small amount of energy compared to the overall energy consumption of a building. At the same time, elevators provide both daily carrier service for passengers and contribute to the user's experience with the building, and so they should be included in sustainability planning. As such, many architects, building owners and managers are incorporating green elevator strategies such as: * Traction elevators * Regenerative drives * Machine Room Less elevators * Destination dispatch * Green retrofit options Whether you're engaged in a new building project or a modernization, including sustainable elevators in your plans will reduce energy use, lower space requirements and generate healthier indoor air quality. Traction Elevators The biggest energy-saving innovation in elevator design is the traction elevator, which is up to 75 percent more energy efficient 36 April-May 2014 BMH than a traditional hydraulic elevator. Hydraulic elevators use a pumping system to work against gravity to push the elevator and occupants up. This energy is then lost when the elevator moves in the down direction. There are also serious environmental concerns about the possibility of oil and other chemicals leaking from the lifting cylinder and contaminating the ground beneath the building. Traction elevators, on the other hand, use smaller electric motors, cables and counterweights to move the elevator in both the up and down direction. This results in a much more efficient system and does not require oil and other toxic pollutants. The more recent development and implementation of the Permanent Magnet AC (PMAC) motor has dramatically increased both the efficiency and performance of traction elevators. PMAC motors are inherently more efficient due to the elimination of rotor conductor losses, lower resistance winding and "flatter" efficiency curve. Because of their synchronous operation, they also offer more precise speed control. And with their higher magnetic flux, they provide higher power density compared with induction machines. Finally, PMAC motors operate cooler, resulting in longer bearing and insulation life as well as reduced needs for HVAC to keep the machine room within an acceptable temperature range. Regenerative Drives Many traction elevator designs also make use of regenerative drive systems for additional energy savings. These contribute to energy efficiency by capturing energy that would otherwise be lost as heat. The energy is then redirected back to other parts of the elevator system or even back into the building's main electrical grid. Machine Room Less (MRL) Elevators By choosing the right resources, or using the same resources more efficiently, sustainable elevator designs can reduce space requirements and materials consumption. That's the benefit of MRL elevators, which use gearless machines located in the elevator hoistway. This creates the opportunity to avoid the need for an elevator machine room, thereby increasing flexibility in design and reducing square footage requirements, materials and related costs. Destination Dispatch Destination dispatch software also adds to the efficient use of energy for elevator transport throughout a building. In taller buildings with multiple elevators in use, destination dispatch software allows passengers to select their floor destination, and then the controller calculates the best use of available elevators to group passengers traveling to nearby floors and direct them to a specific elevator. By avoiding the need for each elevator to stop at every floor, less energy is wasted and the passenger experience is enhanced by reduced overall transport times. Better still, this system can increase handling capacity up to 30 percent. Other Green Retrofit Options A healthy, energy-efficient building is a more profitable one, making it imperative to consider green elevator designs in any upgrade or new building plan. Additionally, modernizing your elevator can be a strategic investment rather than an emergency response by reducing health and safety risks and therefore limiting liability. Here are several ways to improve the contribution elevators make to overall building health and efficiency:

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Management Hawaii April/May 2014

Editor’s Note By Stacy Pope
Hawaiiana Hits The Big Five-0
CONCRETE Restoration and Repairs: Maintaining A Strong Foundation
Concrete Spalls, Cracks And Leaks
Should You Repair Or Replace?
Restoring Exposed Aggregate Surfaces
Preserving A Historic Treasure
ELEVATOR Modernization: Are You Losing Energy?
Greening Your Elevators
Upgrading On A Budget
INSURANCE: Locking Down The Leaks
Navigating Property Insurance
COOLING TOWERS: HVAC Chemical Feed Pumps
Waikiki’s Oldest Hotel Keeps It Cool
Industry News or Movers & Shakers
On Site: Self-Management 101

Building Management Hawaii April/May 2014