D+H: IoT Makes Elevator Shafts Energy-Efficient

21.03.2022 by Annalena Rauen
BlueKit system from D+H Mechatronic and Deutsche Telekom in an elevator shaft

The benefits of sustainability, cost efficiency and process optimization go hand in hand for D+H and its customers thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). A smart, user-friendly box identifies energy losses in elevator shafts and helps reduce energy usage.

Increased energy usage in buildings is of both economic and ecological significance. Heating and air conditioning are frequently the cause of year-round CO2 emissions with a negative impact on both the balance sheet and the environment. Elevator shafts often go unrecognized as weak points in the system. Openings into the open air cause the so-called chimney effect as heat rises and escapes through these vents. As conditioned air is sucked into the shaft from access levels, air conditioning in the building can also be affected. The problem is that these vents are absolutely necessary for safety reasons because they serve to extract smoke in case of fire. There must also be a constant supply of fresh air to the cabin should the elevator ever get stuck.

Together with Telekom, D+H Mechatronic AG has developed a solution that makes the problem visible. D+H, a specialist in ventilation systems and smoke outlets, supplies BlueKit Lift Vision, an IoT-assisted box that enables enterprises and facility managers tenergieegizienz imaufzug

o tell whether energy is escaping unnoticed from their elevator shafts, how high the energy loss is, and how soon retrofitting them with a BlueKit system will pay off by recovering the investment.

Is the Elevator Shaft the Cause of Spiraling Energy Usage?

D+H used to check conditions in elevator shafts by means of an elaborate and costly system that was hardly future-proof. A D+H engineer visited the site and installed a box full of measurement technology in the shaft. That alone was a considerable cost factor because D+H provides its services internationally. Over a period of weeks or even several months the device measured the data required and texted it to D+H, where a tool evaluated the information received. The tool did not have a dashboard, just a complicated rudimentary user interface that made the process cumbersome and unwieldy. The system was hardly suitable to be demonstrated to the customer, so D+H sought assistance from Telekom to make the solution not only effective but also efficient and future-proof.

Well-Known Functionality in a Modern Technological Guise

Together they developed the new BlueKit Lift Vision. Based fundamentally on the same principle as the old system, it is a box that measures climate conditions in the elevator shaft. The decisive difference is that it incorporates IoT technology. The box contains a SIM card and an LTE modem and connects with Telekom’s Cloud of Things platform flexibly by 2G, 4G or 5G, depending on the network technology available at the customer’s premises. Roaming agreements enable networks in other countries to be used without difficulties. 

Software in the IoT Cloud calculates the energy loss in the elevator shaft. On a see-at-a-glance dashboard that Telekom designed especially for D+H both the provider and its customers can see real-time information about indoor and outdoor temperature and airflow. The dashboard works on both a PC and a tablet. Customers can then calculate their energy loss automatically, using the price they pay for their energy.

BlueKit: Smart Ventilation and More

D+H’s BlueKit brand is a range of products for smoke removal and smart ventilation of elevator shafts. It includes the IoT-assisted BlueKit Lift Vision that visualizes energy losses. A focus has always been on combining economic efficiency and environmental protection. BlueKit solutions are designed to help save energy in buildings and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions and costs. In addition, BlueKit systems now qualify for subsidies subject to certain conditions.

BlueKit: Reliable Smoke and Heat Extraction and Smart Ventilation Systems


 

Secure, Easy-To-Use, Sustainable Solution

The software is especially important for D+H because it incorporates the company’s collected knowhow. So an absolutely secure IT environment was a precondition for the project. The Cloud of Things fulfills the most exacting security requirements. Only authorized devices can access the cloud platform. That D+H received everything from a single provider – from the connectivity and integration of the Cloud of Things to the gateway and the security measures – was for the ventilation experts another key reason for collaborating with Telekom. 

In contrast to the old system the new solution is much easier to use. D+H can simply mail the BlueKit Lift Vision-Box to its customers via the postal service. There a technician can install it right in the elevator shaft. If, once the measurement period is over, the shaft is found to be responsible for a high level of energy usage D+H can immediately offer to install a smart ventilation system. The first devices are already in use throughout Europe. Thanks to smart IoT technology they are helping to reduce CO2 emissions, energy and electricity costs so that the burden on neither the company nor the environment is greater than necessary.


 

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Annalena Rauen
Annalena Rauen

Marketing Managerin IoT

Back in 2016, Anna worked on IoT topics at Deutsche Telekom for the first time. Since then, she has been supporting customer best practices in a wide range of industries – always focusing on the benefits that the Internet of Things can provide. Her IoT blogposts describe real use cases and the value these innovations add to market players, their business models, and even entire industries.