By Blake Van Jacobs
Did you know that the Clarkson Tower elevators are some of the busiest elevators in the state? It may seem surprising, but have you ever rode one of those elevators by yourself? Those elevators were also old, in need of replacement, and that has now been completed for all cars.
The technology used to run elevators has changed dramatically, so the new equipment is more efficient and generally requires less energy to operate.
The biggest energy savings comes from (a lack of) cooling. The old elevators were run by a type of generator which was inefficient and produced a lot of heat. Subsequently, the rooms where the generators were housed got hot and then required us to use a lot of energy to cool the rooms—which made the elevators even more inefficient. The new equipment will cut out the generators that ran the elevators and will no longer need rooms to be constantly cooled for proper operation. This is where the greatest savings on emissions and costs come from for the new elevator system.
The cars themselves already had LED lighting installed, keeping the inside of the car cooler, reducing maintenance costs, and saving energy.
In total, these changes, primarily made for safety, will save the Med Center over $2,300 each year. That number may not change the world, but it add up over time. Changes like this across campus will help us reach our Net Zero Building Emissions goal by 2030 and more importantly, help reduce pollution in our area that leads to climate change and harms human health. Speaking of health, when appropriate, take the stairs—it’s increases your physical activity, burns calories, if you are only going a floor or 2 it’s usually quicker, saves additional energy/emissions, and allows the elevators to move patients/visitors more quickly, giving them a better experience.
To continue to track UNMC’s progress on the sustainability metrics, check out our dashboard! You can see progress on all of our goals there, including emissions, and learn about current and upcoming projects that impact our goals.