Going up: Lift and Elevator Energy Efficiency Verification

The latest studies show that the energy consumption of buildings accounts for 40 per cent of global energy consumption. As the number of buildings increases, so does the amount of energy consumed. A lift, a crucial component of any modern building, consumes on average 3 to 8 per cent of all energy. There is then great potential to improve to increase energy efficiency by simply tuning the way they operate. As various countries pay more attention to environmental issues, more policies restricting emissions and focusing on energy saving will be introduced. More lift manufacturers and users are putting lift energy efficiency and relevant assessment on their agendas. Many countries have also started to research and prepare relevant standards and regulations on lift energy efficiency.

At present, VDI 4707 Part I of the Association of German Engineers is commonly used for the assessment of lift energy efficiency around the world. This standard was issued in March 2009, after the comprehensive testing and assessment of 33 lifts from eight major lift manufacturers in Europe by the Switzerland Energy Efficiency Agency in 2005. The standard is applicable for the energy efficiency assessment and classification of new passenger lifts and cargo lifts as well as existing lifts. There are seven classes of lift energy efficiency based on the energy required for operation and standby, indicated by seven coloured labels from A to G, among which Class A represents optimal energy efficiency and Class G means that lift energy efficiency needs to be improved urgently.

There are six steps for the energy efficiency testing as per VDI 4707 Part 1 in total. First, determine the category of the lift to be tested (Category 1-5), which is related to the type of building, the purpose of the lift and the frequency of use. Operational data from the lift manufacturer and actual operational data in use can be used to accomplish a comprehensive assessment. One critical factor in the assessment of lift energy efficiency is that each category has specific daily mean operation and standby hours, which form the basis of the calculations. Next, the actual energy consumption in operation and standby is tested. In this process, the standby energy consumption is determined 5 minutes after the last operation, and the operational energy consumption is the average of the results over three tests. The required parameters are obtained once the relevant calculations are completed based on the above data. The lift energy efficiency can then be determined, and the certificate issued by the authoritative organization. It should be noted that the test based on VDI 4707 Part 1 only indicates the energy efficiency of a single lift. Lifts of the same model and configuration might have different energy efficiency levels due to differences in installation and frequency of use, in which case a separate test is required to issue the certificate.

TUV Rheinland is a third party testing and certification organization, which is well recognized around the world. It began testing and certifying lift energy efficiency in Asia in 2008. The lifts it has tested are used in landmark buildings, international commercial buildings and high-end residential buildings. So far, TUV Rheinland has issued almost 50 lift energy efficiency certificates, with more than 33 certificates issued by the Switzerland Energy Efficiency Agency in 2005. The industrial service unit of TUV Rheinland has also established a database of local lift energy efficiency attributes in Greater China. It has rich experience in testing lift energy efficiency.

TUV Rheinland provides lift energy efficiency tests, along with proposed improvement plans based on the test results. In one case concerning a test of a 4-storey residential building lift, TUV experts graded its category of use at Class 2. The test results showed Class D standby energy needs, Class B operational energy needs and an overall energy efficiency of Class C. After careful analysis, engineers proposed a solution to improve the lift’s energy efficiency. Re-testing showed Class B standby energy needs with 67 per cent energy saved, the same Class B operational energy needs but with 10% energy saved and an overall Class B energy efficiency with 48 per cent energy saved. Energy consumption after the improvement was 52 per cent lower to previous level. Along with this gain, the CO2 footprint was reduced. If similar improvements are made across vast cities, the benefits in terms of emissions and cost are considerable.

Currently, VDI 4707 Part 1 is not mandatory, but it is possible that it will become compulsory in the future. TUV Rheinland recommends that lift manufacturers and building owners who are unfamiliar with VDI 4707 should learn more about this standard. Our team is here to discuss relevant technical issues together with you. We are confident we can help to reduce lift energy consumption and emissions as well as cutting your costs.

TUV Rheinland Greater China

A global leader in technical service provision, the TUV Rheinland Group operates out of 490 locations in 61 countries on all five continents. Our 14, 000 employees provide more than 2,500 types of services for 39 industries based on the guiding principle of developing sustainable safety and quality standards.

An important pillar for the Group since 1986, TUV Rheinland Greater China promotes technical progress by sharing expertise on technical innovations. TUV Rheinland Greater China aims to contribute to the region’s development by becoming the leading provider of superior safety, quality and environmental services and solutions.

With 8 major offices in key regions, we are strategically positioned to deliver local testing and certification services linked to the safety of products and the quality of management systems. Our 2000 employees focus on clients’ requirement by reaching a competitive balance that provides reliable, high-quality products, safe working conditions and low environmental impact. Our service scope covers the wide sectors of industry and energy; transportation; machinery; electric and non-electric products; food; system management certification and training & consulting.

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