Building Management Hawaii April/May 2014 - (Page 38)
Upgrading On A Budget
When a full elevator modernization's out
of the question, what else can be done?
By Nathan Lee
A full elevator modernization can be expensive.
However, there are alternative solutions to a full upgrade
that can help you reap some of the advantages, and they
may be more within your current budget.
Start by getting a handle on how much energy
your elevators use by sub-metering the equipment or
conducting an audit. This practice results in the most
accurate measurements, and some utilities will subsidize
Next, consider replacing the components responsible
for the most energy use, like the drive system. Older drives,
such as motor generator sets, run semi-continuously, which
can be very inefficient and contribute to a large waste of
energy. Older drives lack the capability to push clean power
back into the building. Therefore, energy is dissipated
through heat, so older machines require HVAC to prevent
equipment from overheating.
Other small-scale solutions include replacing the
lights, the starter and controllers. LED, or other highefficiency, low-heat lighting, can provide a quick payback.
LED push buttons are also available. You can also save
several hundred dollars per year just by replacing the
starter and a smart starter, which also protects against
poor-quality power that can lead to brownouts. If you're
considering a larger-scale project, check to see if the code
will allow adding controllers with a standby mode in
When it comes to larger
phase them in to make
them more affordable.
which the elevator will either shut off or reduce lighting
and HVAC while the elevator is unoccupied.
When it comes to larger elevator improvements, phase
them in to make them more affordable. For instance, start
by replacing the DC motor with an AC motor and change
out the drive mechanisms. Then upgrade the cab interiors.
Regenerative drives that reclaim the energy created while
braking or slowing down and fuel it back into the building
are an excellent upgrade. Consider adding smart control
that groups passengers in the most efficient way, reducing
the number of stops for all riders. Got an older geared
elevator? A geared to gearless modernization eliminates
the motor generator, reducing noise levels and power
So why spend the money at all? For one thing, an
inefficient elevator isn't just an energy hog-its wasteful
operation is a red flag for bigger, more expensive problems.
A poorly functioning elevator can cause headaches
in both the short- and long-term by inconveniencing
building occupants. Modernizing outdated equipment is
the largest single impact you can make to reduce energy
consumption of an elevator. As well as increasing ride
quality and longevity, a geared to gearless modernization
lowers energy costs and reduces power consumption by
eliminating the use of a motor generator.
Unlike new elevator installations, your modernizations,
big or small, will involve a "live environment." This means
working each day in a building full of tenants, visitors,
patients, students, or in some cases all of the above.
Modernizing elevators is a systematic process that works
best when everyone involved understands what to expect.
There are a lot of moving parts, and open communication
helps keep everyone safe while also keeping them up to
date on what to expect. Before you do any work, building
owners and tenants should be aware of the following:
The duration the car(s) will be out of service. It is
important for building occupants to be aware of this
well in advance of the start of work so they can make
Noise. The bottom line is that construction makes
noise. Drilling holes, moving equipment, using special
tools-sometimes this can be quite loud, and being
prepared can avoid upset tenants and help the building
work around these particularly challenging times.
Dust can be a factor in installation as well. Many
times parts will be cut onsite, and
this can inevitably lead to the creation
of dust. Open communication and
preparation are key.
Nathan Lee is the sales manager for ThyssenKrupp
Elevator in Honolulu and has held sales, service
modernization and management roles for 13 years in
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