Go into any mall or large convention center today that has more than one floor and you will find escalators. I have never understood the use of these mechanical stairs and have always questioned them. With my focus on being as light as I can on the planet I have a new reason to question escalators today.
Any business with multiple floors will have an elevator for those who are physically unable to climb a flight of stairs, like me. For the rest of their customers they have escalators. Just try to find a flight of stairs in any of your favorite stores. I have asked around and came up with one business in 150 miles that has stairs rather than escalators and that is Ikea.
Growing up I rarely saw escalators. Our options were stairs or the elevator. Are businesses worried that if you have to exert yourself to climb a flight of stairs you won’t buy enough to reach their desired profits?
Even when I was able to walk well enough that most people didn’t realize I had a disability I never had the coordination to jump on an escalator, so from my point of view these are not made to help those with limited mobility, in my case they were much more dangerous than actually climbing a flight of stairs.
Today we are seeing a quickly rising cost in all our goods. So with the prices rising and the environmental toll from the energy used to provide all our conveniences I went searching for answers to just how much escalators cost.
Here’s what I learned
- The cost of a concrete flight of stairs for either indoor or outdoor specifically designed for commercial use will run $600 to $2,000, see my source here.
- The cost of installing an escalator will run a business $15,000 to $50,000 depending on size. Click here for the full article.
- The Kilowatt hours to run one escalator annually will range from a low of 7,500 kWh to 60,000 kWh in the largest ones found in airports or subway stations. Read more here.
- The average home uses 11,040 kWh.
- Based on my home state of Pennsylvania, the commercial cost of electricity per kWh was 10.26 cents in 2010 (the last year I could find figures). This would add an additional $769.50 for the smallest escalator to $6,156 annually, you can view costs by state here.
- One ton of coal provides 2,460 kWh/ton, learn more here.
With this information I believe more businesses should look to Ikea who has chosen to install stairs instead of an elevator. When I visit Ikea the elevator is directly next to the stairs. The vast majority of people use the stairs, without grumbling, leaving the elevator for strollers and disabled.
What things do you notice businesses have chosen to use that is costing them money and wasting resources when another option is readily available?