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Industry Special :Otis Elevator: Raising the 'green' bar in China
By Lao Pan ( China Daily )

 Industry Special :Otis Elevator: Raising the 'green' bar in China

Otis Elevator factory in Tianjin. The plant had a record 1,600 GeN2 elevator shipments in March. Provided to China Daily

Industry Special :Otis Elevator: Raising the 'green' bar in China

Industry Special :Otis Elevator: Raising the 'green' bar in China

What possible relation is there between a single elevator and an entire forest? Can one be responsible for the other? Well, Otis Elevator is working on doing just that - and connecting the two.

The world's leading elevator company recently described its new "One elevator, one tree" program, for corporate social responsibility in China. This is a local effort representing the company's practice of taking "green" responsibility.

Starting this year, Otis China is partnering with the China Green Foundation to plant a tree in China for each elevator it sells. The idea is to extend Otis' green commitment not only to elevators, but to a broader social network.

The initiative begins in the Beijing-Tianjin Shelterbelt and is expected to extend to the Yellow River Valley, Yangtze River Valley, and ultimately the Pearl River Valley.

"'One elevator, one tree' is a long-term program we'll promote in China. It's one of our many endeavors to stop the worsening of global warming and improve the ecology in China," said Charles Vo, president of Otis North Asia and Pacific Area.

Vo explained that it is just one part of the company's many green initiatives in China.

It is starting other programs and activities as well that are tailored to sustainability in every aspect of the business, and working on "social housing" and missions to integrate green technology into its manufacturing process.

"The Chinese government is placing greater importance not just on green buildings but on affordable housing as well," he said.

"The urbanization trend calls for better products from elevator manufacturers, and we've installed our elevators, tailored to China's social housing needs, in several places such as Shanghai, Jiangsu, Shandong and Sichuan, and they're gaining in popularity," he said.

"I hope our advanced technology will allow more Chinese to experience the comfort of elevators," Vo went on to say.

"We'll take advantage of our leading technology to produce more green, reliable, affordable products for the housing project."

Otis has said it is using GeN2 - one of the world's most advanced elevator technologies, developed and designed in China.

The secret of this revolutionary technology is in its use of flat, polyurethane-coated steel belts, and machinery that requires no lubrication.

This essentially eliminates the need for storage, cleanup and disposal of hazardous waste. The permanent magnetic machines and coated steel belts also have a longer life.

Moreover, the company's ReGen drive can reduce energy consumption by up to 75 percent over conventional elevators by capturing energy lost during braking and returning it to the building's energy grid.

The LED skirt lighting also cuts energy consumption by up to 30 percent, over traditional lighting.

The company said that, if GeN2 technology were applied to all elevators over the next decade, it would cut energy consumption by 4,070 gigawatt-hours. That is the equivalent to the energy generated by two hydropower plants each with an installed capacity of 2,000 gigawatt-hours, for a whole year.

"China is the most important strategic market for Otis. And we'll continue to bring the creativity and wisdom of the Chinese into full play," Vo said.

Otis has three R&D centers in China, with around 130 employees, accounting for nearly 13 percent of the total R&D personnel at its eight centers worldwide.

Its Tianjin TEDA Center is the first green elevator factory in the world manufacturing mostly GeN2 products. In March, it had a record 1,600 GeN2 elevator shipments.

It has consolidated the GeN2 process across the Asia-Pacific region and meets the most stringent requirements in countries such as Japan.

The China center got gold-rated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification in 2009.

The unique technology helps cut energy consumption by at least 25 percent compared to conventional designs, the company said.

The company's founder, Elisha Graves Otis, invented the world's first safety brake, in 1853 literally starting the elevator industry.

Since then, the company has seen a series of technological breakthroughs: the first escalator, the first gearless elevator, the first Double Deck system, the first computer controlled system, and now the Gen2 elevator.

"With the creativity and wisdom of the Chinese and the effort we've put in this market, we have every reason to believe that the next-generation of elevators will come from China," Vo concluded.

(China Daily 06/16/2011 page14)

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