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Energy-Efficient Elevators and Escalators (E4)

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More than a third of all EU energy consumption is in the tertiary and residential sectors, mostly in buildings. As comfort requirements have grown, energy consumption in buildings has experienced a significant increase and is now one of the leading reasons for CO2 emission growth. New energy-efficient equipment and behavioural changes can give rise to substantial savings in these sectors. This project targeted elevators and escalators in the tertiary sector and in multi-family residential buildings. Elevators and escalators make living and working several floors of above ground practical. The project has promoted the efficient use of electricity through the application of the best available technologies. Recommendations and procurement guidelines were produced.


  • A monitoring campaign carried out during the project covered 81 installations throughout Europe: 74 lifts and 7 escalators. The main goal of this monitoring campaign was to create a data base to make valid estimations of the energy consumed by lifts and escalators. For this purpose a monitoring methodology was developed based on previous work carried out by international standardisation bodies and other relevant institutions.
  • The monitoring results highlighted the relative importance of standby consumption, which in some installations can be as high as 90% of the overall lift electricity consumption. The proportion of standby to overall consumption is greatly influenced by the usage pattern. This explains the fact that the estimated proportion of standby to overall electricity consumption of lifts in the residential sector is dominant (68%), whereas in the tertiary sector it represents 41%.
  • A technological assessment was carried out aiming at the characterisation of the existing technologies, as well as the identification of emerging energy efficient solutions which can provide electricity savings both in standby and in running of lifts and escalators.
  • The potential overall (running plus standby) savings are estimated to be of 11 TWh, considering that the Best Available Technologies are used, or up to 13 TWh if technologies that are being developed but not yet widely used in the lift industry are applied. These savings translate into a reduction of carbon emissions of around 4,9 Mtons of CO2eq and 5,8 Mtons of CO2eq , respectively, considering the current electricity production mix in Europe.
  • The estimated electricity consumption of escalators in Europe is relatively modest (900 GWh), and a potential reduction of around 250 GWh (30%) could be feasible if all the escalators installed would be equipped with automatic speed controls and with low power standby modes.

Lessons learned

  • The main barriers identified are: ‐ lack of information and awareness of the actual electricity consumption of lift and escalator systems; ‐ lack of information and awareness of the energy efficient technologies in the market; ‐ low state of knowledge on the economic efficiency of the technological measures; ‐ split incentives between general contractors, owners of installations as well as those paying for the energy consumption of installations.
  • Raising awareness through campaigns and the provision of information material for relevant stakeholder groups, such as the main dissemination materials developed in this project, can help overcome the above-mentioned barriers. National energy agencies can play a major role to improve awareness towards the selection and proper operation of energy-efficient lift and escalator systems.
  • Policy recommendations: - implementation of energy labels (exisitng in some countries), providing easily accessible and understandable information, for buyers and specifiers of lifts and escalators systems to support decision making processes. - minimum energy performance indicators to be defined in close cooperation with lift and escalator manufacturers (e.g. maximum standby consumption for all systems, and maximum specific consumption for non-residential high traffic installation

Partners and coordinator

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ISR-University of Coimbra
Contact point: 
Anibal De Almeida
00351 239 796 218
Prof. Anibal de Almeida
Anibal De Almeida
00351 239 796 218


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In brief

15/10/2007 to 14/04/2010
Contract number: 

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