The use of elevators has been in existence for decades, and the same technology has experienced advanced and extensive developments. Diverse changes have been made regarding speed, weight capability, efficiency and even energy consumption. Mainly, elevators are designed in a counterbalance concept that ensures there is a swift movement as it moves up and down. Elevators are also designed and installed by the height of the buildings or facilities where are to be used. Although there have been various advancements on elevators, they still use similar traction sheave and counterweighted lifting mechanism for the sole reason of maintaining a counterbalance. When less effort is used to move a load upwards, then it means that less energy will be used. However, in most cases, elevators are extensively used. In the modern world conserving energy is one of the key objectives and is seen as a step of improvement. They are various ways that can be used to save energy generated by elevators, and one of them is by using it in other areas where the elevators are at work.
Elevators generate both kinetic and potential energy. Kinetic energy is the one kept by an object when it is in motion. Potential energy is released by an object either as it moves down or up. These types of energy can be used in others if carefully examined. Most buildings, especially commercials ones highly use elevators to facilitate movement (Vollrath, 2010). Although the advancement has brought about the use of elevators that are using less energy, they are means in which energy generated by elevators can be used for other purposes like lightning, fans and powering air conditioners and coolers. The same energy can also be stored and used in those times where the power supply is at the peak. By doing so, it becomes easier to save on power usage, and this radically reduced electricity costs. Such an action would result in the elimination of some primary power sources. The constant movement of the car produces potential energy as the motor is in continuous motion. By using a regenerative drive, the energy generated can be converted to power and used in various ways (Vollrath, 2010). This approach works effectively as the regenerated power is channeled in other areas like lighting without even considering fixing meters. The generated energy which is then converted is directed to a power generator that which later transmits it as the main power supply.
The power that flows to the regenerative drive motor of an elevator helps in the creation of a lifting torque on the sheave and the shaft that later helps in lifting the cab. The descending of the cab makes the motor to transform power from mechanical one to an electrical one (de Almeida, 2010). After that, it is pumped or transmitted to the electrical grid in the building and used in other essential systems. This aspect is more applicable in those buildings where the use of elevators is high. Applying such a methodology helps significantly in ensuring that there are substantial savings. The main concept that should be adhered to is knowing the mechanism under which elevators work. As the elevator moves down especially when it is heavily loaded, the traction drive machine acts as a tool of power generation. It is good to note that most of what is generated is energy (de Almeida, 2010). Therefore, it is the same that is regenerated using the drive machine then passed on to a converter and taken back to the power supply unit which feeds the electrical network in the building.
Modern-day elevators have the capability not only save power but also help significantly in the resourceful reuse of the energy they produce. The use of regenerative converters is one fundamental factor that should be considered in the quest to reuse the energy generated in the drive systems of elevators. It is undeniable to state that power sockets, lamps and other systems that consume power are often used. Therefore, channeling the converted energy to these outputs will help to reduce the cost of power significantly ("Elevators with Regenerative Drives Save Energy | Elevator Design Information Blog," n.d.). Another point to consider is that when an empty elevator goes up, the fall of the heavy counterweight produces a lot of energy and if the same case is often experienced, then excess energy is generated. Such an issue requires the use of regenerative drives that can be used to regenerate back the wasted energy. The use of energy recovery systems could result in the massive saving of power in the diverse electrical uses that are applied to different facilities and buildings.
In a nutshell, the extensive use of elevators results in the massive production of energy which can later be transformed into electrical power and channeled back to other systems that need power. The focus should not only aim in the saving of energy but also to cut off most of the electricity costs that are incurred especially of a building is populated and highly operational. Drive motors that generated energy and transform the same to electrical power is effective in ensuring that the approach is possible. With the continuous advancements that are happening in the technology world, it is undeniable that the integration of such a mechanism will be not only vital but also beneficial.
de Almeida, A. (2010). ENERGY EFFICIENT ELEVATORS AND ESCALATORS. [online] Ec.europa.eu. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/energy/intelligent/projects/sites/iee-projects/files/projects/documents/e4_publishable_report_en.pdf [Accessed 29 May 2018].
Elevators with Regenerative Drives Save Energy | Elevator Design Information Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.elevatordesigninfo.com/elevators-with-regenerative-drives-save-energy
Vollrath, D. (2010). Regenerative Elevator Drives: What, How and Why. [online] Elevatorbooks.com. Available at: https://www.elevatorbooks.com/Content/Site125/FilesSamples/179592pdf_00000088467.pdf [Accessed 29 May 2018].
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