Over the past 20 years, many producers in the lift industry has chosen to design lifts that are less modular than before. This means that they are no longer suited to modernise as they were in the past.
It is obvious that for environmental reasons we must switch back to install lifts that are aimed for modernisation, module by module. To modernise an older lift instead of replacing it means halving the environmental impact.
Consume less material
By a modernisation the car, guide rails, car sling and often landing door panels are reused. You replace the drive and control system and insert a new car decor and door mechanism. The lift will be like new and will last at least as long as a brand new elevator and running costs are not higher.
HydroElite is a drive and control system developed by Hydroware and is well suited for modernisation by the robust design and modular design.
To replace an old hydraulic system with HydroElite means a significant reduction in energy consumption and the installed power is reduced to one third.
Life Cycle Assessment
A life cycle assessment shows the impact on the environment throughout the entire product lifecycle.
From procuring raw materials, the entire production, the usage phase
and the material and energy recycling.
Life Cycle Assessment for lifts
We have performed a life cycle assessment of a 4 floor lift in a residential building. It shows clearly that the material used to manufacture the lift has significantly higher negative impact on the environment than the operation of the lift during the life time.
In this example, both lifts are installed in a new building in Berlin. The hydraulic lift is then modernised every 20 years, and the lift with counterweight is changed completely in the same interval.
The environmental impact of the material
For most people in the lift industry the result is surprising. Until now, all focus has been on reducing the energy consumption in operation and much has improved here. But now it is time to look also at the environmental impact of the material used.
Lift without counterweight in lower buildings
Our life cycle assessment clearly shows that it is most appropriate to install a lift without counterweight in lower buildings, such as residential buildings.
37000 kg of carbon dioxide emissions
We estimate the life time of a residential building to 80 years, and the lift service life to 20 years. The environmental pollution of a lift with counterweight results in 37000 kg more carbon dioxide emissions compared to a hydraulic lift. That amount of carbon dioxide emissions is equivalent to driving a gasoline-powered car that meets the EURO 5 emission standards 115000 km, equivalent to 3 times around the world.
Circular economy is an expression of the economic model of a company, community or organisation
which highlights the business opportunities of using circular loops
rather than linear processes hitherto dominant.
Circular economy for lifts
With our life cycle assessment in hand, we realised that within the lift industry, we can start working on circular models immediately.
A lift contains a wide variety of different components with a huge diversity in lime time span. The lift is normally installed indoors so the influence from the environment is negligible. Components that are not wear and tear parts have a very long life time, such as guide rails, car sling, the car and the landing door panels.
Reuse as much as possible
Install robust modular elevators that can be modernised. During the following 20-30 years the lift is repaired and thereafter modernised where as much material as possible is reused. Finally, when the building is taken out of service, it is time to recycle material and where it is not possible recycle energy.