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Project Launch: 12/01/2020

Partners: 360 Energy Group, SEDAC, Kone Engineering

This research project explored potential energy savings from several measures related to modern elevator operation.


Energy savings in passenger and freight elevators can be achieved via various retrofits, including the installation of regenerative drives with variable speed drives, permanent magnet synchronous motors, power management systems, variable speed drives on elevator doors, polyurethane coated ropes to replace existing cable and upgraded lighting system and controls. While the energy savings of new, efficient elevators are well documented, research that identifies the disaggregated contribution of component-level retrofits is not as well understood.

This market research study sought to identify energy-efficient measures that have high savings potential and are good candidates for elevator retrofits. The project team identified baselines and standard practices in the current market and determined the energy savings opportunity for elevator retrofits in the ComEd service territory. To understand market drivers for elevators retrofits, they also conducted interviews with elevator manufacturers, building managers, architectural/ engineering firms, contractors and consultants.

Results and Outcomes

The project team identified a handful of measures with high savings potential, especially efficient motor drives and LED lighting; depending on the building and elevator type, the technical potential for an elevator retrofit that incorporates these high impact measures ranges from 2-40 MWh/year per elevator retrofit. There are, however, numerous market barriers to adoption that call into question the future success of a standardized ComEd Energy Efficiency Program  elevator offering. The interviews with the relevant market actors found that energy savings in a building’s elevator are low priority, compared to safety and reliability/functionality.