Inside the Building Technology Showcase: Elevator System

Elevator installation in progress at the Building Technology Showcase. Image courtesy of Kathy Chapman/ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas.

Elevator installation in progress at the Building Technology Showcase. Image courtesy of Kathy Chapman/ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas.

Fraunhofer CSE’s Building Technology Showcase is a far-reaching, energy-efficient retrofit of a 100-year-old historic structure in Boston’s Innovation District. In this new series, we look ‘under the hood’ to explore some of the systems and technologies driving this project. 

One of the most interesting aspects of the Building Technology Showcase is just where energy-efficient technologies can crop up. Elevators are probably the last place you’d expect to find cutting-edge energy-saving technologies, but that’s exactly what ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas has donated to our project.

TKE’s six-stop synergy elevator offers a number of features to improve efficiency – some obvious, some less so. For instance, the elevator’s lights and fan can shut off when not in use. A gearless motor reduces the number of mechanical parts used in the system to a minimum, eliminating the need for a dedicated machine room, reducing maintenance requirements, and lowering energy consumption.

However, ThyssenKrupp’s elevator system doesn’t just save energy – it actually creates it. In conventional elevators, a portion of the power used to run the elevator is lost through waste heat every time the cab brakes. By using a technology called regenerative braking, ThyssenKrupp’s system is able to recapture much of this power and feed it back into the building’s electrical grid. Reducing the amount of heat generated by the elevator also cuts down on cooling loads in the Showcase, leading to additional savings.

ThyssenKrupp's 300S Elevator System does not require a machine room, creating space savings. Image courtesy of ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas.

ThyssenKrupp’s 300S Elevator System does not require a machine room, creating space savings. Image courtesy of ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas.

About author
I'm Fraunhofer CSE's Marketing Specialist and a founding employee of the Center. I currently manage CleanTechNotes.org.
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