KONE’s vision in the increasingly urbanizing world is to deliver the best People Flow™ experience. Fulfilling this vision requires constant improvements in the energy-efficiency of products, production processes and ways of working. KONE’s environmental director, Hanna Uusitalo, says environmental thinking at KONE goes both from top to bottom and from bottom to top. Management has been committed to sustainability and the development actions taken are now starting to show results.
Environmental responsibility has been an increasingly hot topic and will most likely continue to be. What does it represent for KONE?On a company level, it means creating value for our stakeholders by developing competitiveness in a sustainable way. We have company-wide environmental targets, which each KONE unit implements based on local needs. Once a month, our Executive Board receives a report on the progress of our sustainable operations. Our Environmental Excellence development program is also a guideline that binds the operations of our employees as well as that of our suppliers. So the chain of responsibility reaches top management, field personnel, suppliers and in the end, our customers.
Speaking of customers, what’s the greatest benefit of this approach for them?Our customers are increasingly aware of the importance of sustainable building and construction. For us this means that our products need to be safe, sustainable and of high quality from design to end-of-life placement. Our job starts at the design and evaluation stage, meaning that we calculate the optimal solution for the customer’s building. Furthermore, by offering solutions to our customers that reduce the energy consumption of their buildings, we not only add value to their operations by cutting their energy costs but we can also make an impact on the sustainability and efficiency of their projects.
You mention solutions that reduce the energy consumption of a building. What impact can an elevator or esca-lator modernization have? An elevator or an escalator has a limited life span, it will reach its end of life after about 25–30 years. It’s important to recognize whether the solution needs a full replacement or replacement of a part or a sub-solution. So modernization is a way to increase the length of a piece of equipment’s life span. For example, it is possible to achieve energy savings of up to 70 percent with the modernization of an elevator and up to 50 percent with the modernization of an escalator.For building owners this translates into improved energy efficiency but also reduced operating costs and predictable life-cycle management.
What about KONE’s goals in terms of reducing the carbon footprint of its own operations?We’ve set a five percent annual carbon footprint reduction target for our own operations. The most significant greenhouse gas impact relates to our car fleet, electricity consumption and logistics. In 2009, we achieved a six percent reduction and we are planning to achieve the same by the end of 2010. The reductions so far have been achieved through programs that improve the overall efficiency of our car fleet and we have been making progress on reducing our electricity consumption and rearranging packaging and logistics practices. Minimizing company air travel and encouraging video conferencing has also had a positive impact in this area.
What about the carbon footprint of KONE’s elevators once they are in operation? Approximately 80 percent of carbon dioxide emissions are generated during the use of the elevator. By comparison, during material production, the same emissions are 11 percent. We have, however, managed to significantly reduce the energy consumption of our elevators. Last year, we launched a range of elevators that consume 30 percent less energy compared to previous volume models. By the end of this year, we will reduce the energy consumption of our elevators by a further 20 percent. This means we will have halved the energy consumption of our elevators in four years compared to the 2006 base value, which is a very significant achievement.
How has KONE been able to significantly reduce energy consumption of its elevators and what technologies will allow you to further cut consumption in the future?There are four major ways to reduce an elevator’s energy consumption. Besides technologies, operating the elevator in a more efficient way pays off. In terms of technology, the main issues are efficient hoisting, energy regeneration and energy-efficient car lighting. The fourth important factor is energy-efficient standby operation. For example, the KONE EcoDisc® hoisting motor has a permanent magnet synchronous machine which, together with a vector-controlled drive system, provides the highest possible total efficiency. As for energy generation, the ascending or descending car contains potential energy. A regenerative drive recovers this energy and depending on the elevator type and height of the building, can save up to 35 percent of the total energy consumed. Also, all our new elevators are equipped with LED lights that use up to 80 percent less energy than conventional solutions. It’s still a work in progress and we’re constantly looking out for innovative solutions that further decrease the energy consumption and carbon footprint of our products. At the moment, we’re investigating means for utilizing solar panels incorporated in our elevators, resulting in a zero emission elevator solution.
KONE recently became the very first elevator company to reach the A label in energy efficiency performance according to VDI 4707. Could you explain what this is and what it means for KONE?VDI 4707 is a European-based guideline established by the Association of German Engineers (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure) and is now used mainly in Europe but also in other countries around the world. This summer, KONE became the very first company in its industry to reach the A label energy rating for its European volume elevators based on the KONE MonoSpace® elevator solution. The A label is the best rating that can be given under the guideline and customers will be able to order elevators meeting the VDI 4707 A label by the end of 2010.In addition to the VDI 4707 guideline, the global ISO/DIS 25745 Energy Performance of Lifts and Escalators, currently under preparation, will help compare solutions on a wider basis.
What are your future expectations regarding KONE’s corporate responsibility and sustainability efforts?Our aim is to be the leader in our industry and eco-efficiency and sustainability play an integral part in our efforts to reach that goal and it will continue to do so in the upcoming years. The actions we have been implementing all over the company are producing results and put us in a great position for the future. But for the meantime, our work goes on and I’m confident that KONE will continuously improve on this front.
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What is People Flow®?
通力工具箱(Toolbox) »通力Quick Traffic(電梯流量計算工具) »高效節能(Eco-efficiency) »
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