Revolutionary Elevator Uses Zero Energy


Image from Footprint

It's big and clunky and it's revolutionary. An elevator that uses no energy at all. Designed as part of the London Festival of Architecture, the challenge was to make some historic steps accessible by wheelchair and highlight the need for accessibility across London.

The designer, an architect, worked with the Royal Engineers to create the solar elevator. It had to be free-standing since it was to be in the middle of the Duke of York Steps, and it had to be temporary. And they wanted it to be "genuinely sustainable."

water lift photo

Image from Matthew Lloyd Architects

It was designed partly as a tribute to the architect's father who had been wheelchair ridden. This made him realize how many spots are inaccessible. It fits in with the theme of Welcoming City which is part of the festival.

The elevator will hold eight people. Since it is located on a series of steps that are historically designated, it had to be free-standing and temporary. It is secured by its weight alone, which is 3 tons.

Using two large solar panels, the concept "uses water weights to counterbalance a lift cart, with renewable energy sources pumping water back to refill the system." It works with solar panels which power the whole mechanism. Luckily it has been blisteringly hot here so no problem about the sun.

open festival photo

Image from Footprint

It is made out of lucite so all the mechanical elements are on display and people will be able to decipher how it works.

It was created by Matthew Lloyd Architects and supported through the much appreciated financial assistance of many groups. Ordinarily it would cost £40,000. They are hoping to patent the design and install three of them at the London 2012 Olympics.

More on London Festival of Architecture
London Festival of Architecture Covers the City and John Nash.
London's Embassies Show Sustainable Projects
Touring the Olympic 2012 Site

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