Buildings account for 40 per cent of global energy consumption. Diversified industrial group ThyssenKrupp is calling for more energy efficient design in our urban landscapes, having analyzed that energy savings in our buildings need to be implemented now in order to achieve meaningful levels in 15 years.
Before the meeting on Energy Efficiency in Industry (Paris) hosted by the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) and International Energy Agency (IEA), Sascha Frömming, Head of Innovation and Sustainability Management of ThyssenKrupp Elevator, said, “Buildings in our cities today are being ‘locked in’ to poor energy patterns by inefficient building services which have an average lifespan of 15 years. Building systems such as elevators, heating, ventilation and refrigeration are not running at their most efficient levels, so it is of upmost importance we address this now.”
Every single commercial building that is built today locks in an average of 12,000 MWh of electricity consumption for the next 15 years. Frömming added, “The energy production verses consumption debate is nothing new, but rapidly increasing urbanization across the world today is accelerating the conversation. By 2030, up to 60 percent of the global population will live in cities, and energy consumption in these urban areas will increase by around a quarter. As a result, today’s energy-inefficient buildings will simply not be able to accommodate the rising energy demand, making it imperative for urban development decisions made today for future cities to be forward-thinking.”
Accounting for the largest share of global energy usage today (40 per cent), buildings are at the very heart of the energy efficiency debate. In cities, the upward trend of buildings revolves the conversation around how to make high-rise buildings run more smartly; minimizing consumption and reducing the urban energy footprint. With buildings getting taller, elevators are one of the most integral energy-using systems in our cities and are thus a key area for address when seeking to improve urban energy efficiency.
Innovative elevator technologies such as ThyssenKrupp’s TWIN system are just one example of the solutions that can help. Comprising of two elevator cabins operating in the same shaft across different floors, the system can save an average of 27 per cent of energy and reduce the electrical power required in a building by half when compared with other technologies. These elevators can also operate as power generators by converting the elevators’ kinetic energy into electricity and feeding it back into the power grid, reducing energy needs for the building by as much as 30 percent.
Such technological solutions are required around the world and can be adapted to suit the needs of different regions. In Europe, for example, a third of the buildings standing in 2030 will have been built before 1970, and as a result will require significant modernization to bring them in line with contemporary energy requirements and standards. Retrofitting these aged elevators with modern solutions could reduce energy consumption by up to 70 per cent.
Frömming concluded, “Energy-efficient elevator solutions are at the core of creating truly sustainable cities of the future. The time to integrate these systems into buildings is now. The expertise and products already exist; the challenge is speeding up the integration process to upgrade our building stock more quickly.”