Reducing Energy Consumption of Elevator Systems During Modernization

Brian Preston
General Manager UK Office
Magnetek, Bedford

As more new buildings are constructed in population centers, the electrical grid is being stressed. Reducing energy consumption and improving power quality in existing buildings is a critical need. Buildings constructed before the year 2000 largely use DC Gearless elevators produced by major OEMs. Through modern electronic drive technology incorporating power regeneration, these DC machines can be retained and the elevators modernized to achieve savings within 1–2% of the newest AC technology without the need to replace the machine. This minimizes disruption to service and results in a much lower total cost. Successful modernization of these elevators results in a highly reliable system, provided some simple steps are followed in the modernization process. This presentation offered guidance on the pre- and post-modernization steps necessary for a successful outcome. Further, available technology to modernize existing DC machines was reviewed, and energy savings calculations were generated comparing up to three different technologies. Lastly, regeneration technology was reviewed, and energy saving examples from recently modernized elevators were presented. In conclusion, significant energy savings can be accomplished, at a lower total cost, by retaining DC elevator machines installed before the year 2000.