Are escalators more energy efficient than elevators?



  1. 0 Votes

    It’s hard to say since they both have huge drawbacks and high levels of energy use.  Escalators run whether someone is on them or not, but then again, elevators are on all day too, even if they aren’t moving.

    Escalators in the United States reportedly use 2.6 billion kilowatt hours of energy per year.  This amount could power 375,000 houses during that time.  They are also expensive and energy-intensive to build.

    There are different kinds of elevators and since they are not carrying passengers constantly it’s hard to have hard numbers on energy use.  It all 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.  These are different terms than the ones I gave for escalators, but you can still understand that these are high numbers.

    On the website, Umbra Fisk compiled some information on the internet about energy use of elevators, which I will now reuse for you: 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. (

    The biggest problem with elevators and escalators is not the incremental energy use that choosing to take one or the other causes, but the energy use from existing.  Luckily, elevator companies like Kone and Otis are working to make elevators more efficient and their efforts seem to be fruitful, but still: if you have the option and the energy, take the stairs.

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