Elevator Modernization and Overview of Destination-Based Systems

  July 13, 2015

Elevator systems are typically one of the first building systems tenants or visitors encounter after entering a building. The impression they receive either reinforces the psychological expectations created by a positive visual lobby experience, or negates them. Given the importance of elevators to current and prospective tenants, elevator modernization decisions, which may include destination-based systems, can be an important tool for owners in differentiating their properties from the competition.

Current and projected tenant requirements are an important consideration in any elevator modernization program, as is the elevator technology and condition in competitive properties in the area. Evaluating these factors is the first critical step in planning because it represents a significant capital expenditure for a property. Proper analysis and planning at this stage ensures the proper selection of elevator equipment and in particular, the proper elevator control and drive systems to ensure the long term leaseability and enhance the property's asset value.

One of the most important decisions at this stage is whether to install one of today's modern destination-selection control systems. These systems offer a host of features, including extremely sophisticated traffic-handling capabilities, direct access to any floor where not all elevators in a given group serve all floors, enhanced tenant security, sophisticated interfaces to building security turnstiles, and directory touch screens in the tenant lobby.

The majority of conventional elevator systems around the world use up and down call buttons to summon elevator cars for passengers. This somewhat antiquated system typically results in longer wait periods and inefficient, extended travel times for passengers. During peak periods, particularly early mornings, passengers can be seen huddling around elevator doors waiting for the next elevator to arrive. Destination-based elevators, or destination-selection control systems, are changing how we use and modernize vertical transit and are quickly becoming the industry standard when we modernize buildings with three or more elevators, making older buildings more competitive.

With destination-selection control, passengers choose a destination floor on terminals located in the elevator lobby or in a corridor adjacent to the elevators. Passengers are grouped together depending on their destinations and the elevator controller system dispatches the most efficient car available, optimizing average waiting time and time-to-destination for passengers. The optimization process groups together riders traveling to the same floors. Passengers are then instructed on which elevators to enter. Other optimization functions include the relative importance of wait time versus transit time, energy conservation, and the reduction of longer waiting periods.

Destination-based elevators offer substantial benefits for passengers as well as property owners and managers. Passengers generally gain shorter time to destination, less crowding, and noticeably quicker rides with fewer stops. For owners and managers, the systems create better functioning properties, reduce operating and energy costs, and improve the marketability of the buildings with potential clients. Destination-selection control systems, when applied in an office environment, offer improved handling capacity during the morning up-peak traffic condition and may enhance leasing flexibility, for example, by making it possible to assign tenants or their clients to different elevators than other tenants or their clients.

Today’s tip comes from Jay Popp.

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