They aren’t good. They use energy and sit on all day whether someone is in them or not, although energy use depends on number of passengers, number of stops, weight of the car, whether it’s high speed or not, etc. And elevators often have their own air conditioning systems, which is definitely inefficient. I couldn’t find numbers for annual consumption but Kone, one of the leading elevator producers, says that energy consumption in buildings makes up 40% of world energy use, and elevators comprise approximately 10% of a building’s consumption.
On the website Grist.org, Umbra Fisk compiled some information on the internet about energy use of elevators, which I will now reuse: energy use per person per floor is around .0015 kWh. Energy use per tenant of an office building is on average (because there are many different height possibilities) .3 kWh per day.
Most people seemed to agree that a person’s decision whether or not to use an elevator ultimately didn’t make much of a difference. The problem with elevators is their existence more than the individual little trips. Still, it’s always good to use the stairs when possible.
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