An interesting article on elevators:
Taken for a Ride
From the article:
"According to statistical findings attached to the Energy Efficiency Act, which became law in 2006, 90 billion people each year ascend and descend on escalators, making it a more popular form of transportation than commercial airliners. The national energy use of escalators is estimated at 2.6 billion kilowatt hours per year, equivalent to powering 375,000 houses; its cost is roughly $260 million."
Well, $260M is less than $1/person in the US per year, not too bad all things considered.
I saw intermittent escalators deployed at the Zurich airport. Its a bit unnerving at first, you think the elevator isn't working, and then it starts just as you step on. Of course, in Switzerland, everything does just work, so why I would think it wasn't working is beyond me.
The article implies we should just climb stairs, which seems a bit hair-shirt wearing to me, given for less than 1/3 of a cent a day in variable cost, I get unlimited escalator rides. (My son insists on riding every escalator he sees, regardless of where it is going).
The number of escalators in the US = 30,000 ..., just over 2 for every McDonald's restaurant in the US (or one for every 10,000 people).