I used to work in Hearst Tower in New York City, a LEED Gold-certified skyscraper built in 2006. The elevators that zoomed me up to The Daily Green in the 46-floor tower were said to be among the fastest in the city, and certainly among the most energy efficient.
In addition to using efficient motors, the elevators are computer operated. Users type in the floor they want to reach on keypads mounted near the elevator bank on each floor, and the computer determines the most efficient route, combining trips for others throughout the structure. The experience is seamless, smooth, and extremely fast.
The only drawback is that “regular” elevators in other buildings start to seem painfully slow and clunky, and I still forget to push the buttons once stepping inside the car, because there is nothing to press inside those Hearst elevators.
The design of our buildings matters, whether we are talking about efficiency of daily routines or energy use. Also in Manhattan, the Empire State Building has been working on a major green renovation project, modernizing the world’s most famous office building. The elevators are being made faster and more efficient.
This infographic by Nowsourcing gives a glimpse into the world of elevators, which has its ups and downs.
Brian Clark Howard is a writer and editor with NationalGeographic.com. He was formerly an editor at The Daily Green and E/The Environmental Magazine and has contributed to many publications, including TheAtlantic.com, FastCompany.com, MailOnline.com, PopularMechanics.com, Yahoo!, MSN and elsewhere. His latest book, with Kevin Shea, is Build Your Own Small Wind Power System.