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Improving the Safety and Energy Efficiency of Existing Elevators

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Categories: Issue 5/2012
Date: Jul 21, 2015
Title: Improving the Safety and Energy Efficiency of Existing Elevators
Mehran Taheri

Within the context of two seminar papers, Mehran Taheri, a KIT Master of Business and Engineering student, has taken a critical look at
the linking of energy efficiency and safety of existing elevators (acc. to SNEL). The papers have been tutored by Matthias Unholzer of the
House Building Economy and Ecology Chair at the KIT Economics Faculty and by Volker Lenzner of LiftEquip. The results of these two
papers are summarized in the following.

Can measures taken to improve the safety of existing elevator systems be coupled to the improvement of the energy efficiency?
It has been investigated whether or not the application of DIN EN 81-80 allows the operator to simultaneously improve the energy efficiency
(VDI 4707).
In Europe some 4.8 million elevator systems are operated, 650,000 of them in Germany. More than 50 % of the systems in use in Germany were
installed more than 20 years ago and therefore no longer meet state-of-the-art standards. DIN EN 81-80 systematises the safety deficiencies of
existing passenger and goods lifts to adapt their safety level to the state-of-the-art standard. For this purpose the standard includes a check list in
the annex describing 74 possible risk situations of existing elevator systems and proposing measures taken to reduce such risks. The respective
risk situations are divided into priority levels to allow safety risks to be eliminated step by step by taking the proposed measures within a certain
period of time. The chance to improve the energy efficiency of an elevator system during operation in the course of this undertaking depends on
the components that need to be modernized or replaced. A closer look has been taken at those risk situations of the 74 described which cause a
direct or indirect reduction of the energy consumption during the standby mode or during the elevator ride. Ten suitable points have been
identified in the seminar paper.
In the diagram shown the actual technical safety condition of the system is checked. In line with VDI 4707 the options are then listed with which
the energy efficiency- of the overall system can be improved (10-point list). For determining the energy efficiency class, VDI 4707 distinguishesbetween the energy demand- in standby and riding modes taking into account the so-called utilization category of the building in which the
elevator is installed. Utilization category 1 for example covers smaller buildings with only a few flats and a small amount of rides per day. Here
the average standby time amounts to 23.8 hours1) and the thing to do would be to lower the standby demand. In utilization category 5 (highly
frequented buildings) it first of all makes sense to look for saving potentials in the ride demand and improve the energy consumption by taking
appropriate measures. The 10-point list is exactly referring to those two cases and offers possible solutions.
Point 45 “Normal lighting in the cab“ is one of the most important points of the 10-point list for poorly frequented elevators because this is where
a lot of energy can be saved in the standby mode. DIN EN 81-1/2 specifies an illumination of “at least 50 Lux and/or 100 Lux“ in public
Conform to regulations one can use en-ergy efficient LEDs instead of conventional fluorescent tubes. These LEDs have a higher efficiency and a
longer life. Since the automobile industry is using more and more LEDs and produces these in high numbers, LEDs no longer are a major cost
factor. Depending on the elevator utilization category the thing to do as the next step would be to turn off the LEDs during standby. But turning
off the LEDs during standby is only worthwhile for elevators that are poorly frequented (elevators in high-rise buildings with many rides per day
will save less energy during standby as in the ride mode).
On the other hand a major problem of older elevators is that they have control systems which allow complete systems to be turned off but which
are unable to manage the frequency of turn-off proced-ures. One should then examine whether or not the installation of a new control system
makes sense. When a new control system is fitted, the installation of a frequency converter is state-of-the-art allowing an energy recovery of up to
35 % of the total energy consumption of an elevator to be achieved.2)
Depending on the system’s actual condition and the type of building these measures should be taken into consideration.

12/08/2015 16:43

1) VDI 4707 (2009): page 6 table 1 2) TÜV NORD Systems GmbH & Co.lift-report. Since the elevator system operator is responsible for the scope of and manner in which safety deficiencies are eliminated.for the consequences of such deficiencies. KG: Report Nov. But as an operator one can take the initiative and set an example with respect to the overall energy efficiency of buildings by fitting modern and more efficient components with reduced failure probabilities and maintenance costs. Although modernizations confront the operator with investments. he is therefore also responsible. Summary Reflections show that some of the measures taken to improve the safety of existing systems may also result in energy being saved. But elevators can constitute up to 8 % of the total energy consumption of a building3). in the long run it is the fitting decision since it warrants the safety and helps to save energy cost. ENEA (2010): page 3 12/08/2015 16:43 . The improvement of energy efficiency can the Safety and Energy Efficiency of Existing Elevators 2 of 2 http://www. In this context modernization measures could prove to be especially. maximum intervals being applied.important for owners and The operator is not legally bound to improve the energy efficiency and modernize the system at the time he is retrofitting components since the currently valid Energieeinsparverordnung (EnEV 2009 – energy saving or-dinance) does not take into account the energy consumption of central services such as elevators.print.. The diagram shows the individual points and their effects. For systems which need to be monitored the technical safety assessment is carried out to determine the inspection intervals and to document the actual technical safety status. The operator is not obliged to retrofit equipment but is liable for any resulting damage. Intelligent modernizations can reduce the operating cost of the building.php? used to improve the reputation of an operator who has an environmentally awareness and is always employing most modern technology. The money saved could partly be invested again in future modernization measures and the system always meets the latest state-of-the-art standard.since they do not only stand for a reduction in operating cost but also contribute to maintaining and increasing the value of the property.cntnt01. It is therefore in the operator’s legal interest if he continuously takes the servicing measures needed to meet the technical safety standards. 2010 3) www. The market offers different modernization packages which can partly be realized step by step and in tune with each other. For the operators DIN EN 81-80 (regulations for improving the safety of existing passenger and goods lifts) is the guide for the technical safety assessment or risk assessment. The scope of the technical safety assessment and risk assessment is subject to TRBS 1111.. Why should the operator retrofit equipment when he is not directly obliged to do so? According to the Betriebssicherheitsverordnung (BetrSichV – operational safety ordinance) which is put in concrete terms in the Technische Regeln für Betriebssicherheit (TRBS – technical operational safety rules) elevator system operators must have a notified monitoring body determine the intervals at which their plants and systems have to be subjected to a recurrent inspection. improve the safety of systems and increase the value of the property.e4project. The risk assessment must be carried out by the employer and is governed in the BetrSichV under § 3 for risks occurring during the provision and use of working means2).