Environmental and energy efficiency in the elevator shaft thanks to IoT

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5 minutes Reading time
5 minutes Reading time

Increased energy consumption in buildings plays a major role, both economically and ecologically. Heating and air-conditioning systems often cause CO2 emissions throughout the year, which weigh heavily on environmental and operational balances. According to the latest EU reports, the building sector is the largest consumer within the European Union, accounting for 40% of total energy consumption.

An unexpected, and often unrecognized, weak point in this regard are elevator shafts. There, due to openings to the outside, the so-called chimney effect occurs: heated air rises upwards, which in turn draws – often air-conditioned – ambient air from the floors into the shaft which then escapes through the opening.

The challenge: Classic measurement technology in the cloud - Rethink your Business!

These openings must not be sealed, however, because they are absolutely essential for safety reasons: in the event of a fire, they serve to extract smoke, and in the event of a malfunction, the supply of fresh air to the cabin must be ensured.

In other words, energy escapes uncontrollably from the elevator shaft – but how much, and what exactly does it cost? And how can climate change, legal frameworks and structural conditions be reconciled in equal measure, and how can maximum safety be ensured and operating costs in the building be reduced? No easy challenges! That is why it is an issue for the D+H Group, a leading solution provider for smoke extraction and natural ventilation. Founded in Hamburg in 1968, it employs over 250 people throughout Germany and around 500 people worldwide.

In the past, D+H tested the conditions in the elevator shaft using classic methods: a company technician installed a box equipped with measurement technology in the shaft. Over a period of weeks or months, the device gathered the requested data and finally sent it to D+H via SMS. There, the information was evaluated in a tool with an only rudimentary user interface. This was cumbersome, hardly suitable for demonstrating to customers and a considerable cost factor due to the necessary traveling, because D+H offers its services internationally.

So what was needed was a solution that was not only effective, but also efficient and future-proof. An absolutely secure IoT environment was a basic requirement.

The solution: A smart, user-friendly IoT box identifies energy losses

Deutsche Telekom IoT GmbH offers business customers both standardized products and customized solutions in the area of the Internet of Things. The fact that Telekom can supply everything from a single source, from connectivity and Cloud of Things integration to the gateway and security measures, was also a decisive reason for the D+H ventilation experts to work with them.

Telekom and D+H jointly developed the new BlueKit Lift Vision, an IoT-supported box that basically works on the same principle as the old system: A box equipped with measurement technology measures the climatic conditions in the elevator shaft. The key difference is that the box is equipped with IoT technology. It contains a SIM card and an LTE modem and connects flexibly with Telekom’s Cloud of Things platform by 3G, 4G or 5G depending on which network technology is available at the customer site. In the Cloud of Things, software continuously calculates the elevator shaft’s energy loss and CO₂ emissions. The data is transmitted in real time to a networked portal. Users can then access a straightforward dashboard that Telekom has designed especially for D+H via a password-protected access point on a PC or tablet. This allows both the provider itself and its customers to view information on indoor and outdoor temperature and airflow in real time. In the end, it can be used to automatically create an energy loss calculation. In order to obtain real results based on individual energy prices, the existing kW/h price at the customer’s site is included in the calculation.

The result: Cloud-of-Things platform helps save thousands of euros

Sustainability, cost efficiency and process optimization go hand in hand for D+H and its customers thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) and Telekom’s Cloud of Things platform.

In contrast to the old system, the new solution is much easier to use. D+H can simply send the BlueKit Lift Vision box to its customers by mail. There, a technician can place them directly in the elevator shaft. If it turns out after the end of the measurement period that the shaft is indeed responsible for high energy consumption, D+H can directly offer and carry out the installation of an intelligent ventilation system Currently, the first devices are already in use throughout Europe. Thanks to intelligent IoT technology, they help reduce CO2 emissions, energy and electricity costs – so that neither the wallet nor the environment are burdened more than necessary. At the same time, it can save many thousands of euros a year in heating costs.

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