California Green Building Code (CALGreen) – Elevators and escalators

The installation and features of elevators and escalators that conserve energy by providing systems and controls to reduce the energy demand. This will save large amount of energy consumptions.

CALGreen Code Section A5.212.1: Elevators and escalators.

In buildings with more than one elevator or two escalators, provide systems and controls to reduce the energy demand of elevators and escalators as follows. Document systems operation and controls in the project specifications and commissioning plan.

CALGreen Code Section A5.212.1.1: Elevators.

Traction elevators shall have a regenerative drive system that feeds electrical power back into the building grid when the elevator is in motion.

CALGreen Code Section A5. Car lights and fan.

A parked elevator shall turn off its car lights and fan automatically until the elevator is called for use.

CALGreen Code Section A5.212.1.2: Escalators.

An escalator shall have a VVVF motor drive system that is fully regenerative when the escalator is in motion.

CALGreen Code Section A5.212.1.4: Controls.

Controls that reduce energy demand shall meet requirements of CCR, Title 8, Chapter 4, Subchapter 6 and shall not interrupt emergency operations for elevators required in CCR, Title 24, Part 2, California Building Code.


The intent of this measure is to encourage, within the parameters established by Title 8 for elevator and escalator safety and the California Building Standards Code for fire regulations concerning vertical conveyances, the installation and features of elevators and escalators that conserve energy. Regenerative drive systems for both elevators and escalators are currently available; in the case of elevators in a high-rise, approximately a 15-percent reduction in energy use could be realized, with a payback of 5 to 7 years.

Title 8 contains regulations for elevator and escalator safety, including a reference to ASME A17.1 2016/CSA B44-2016.

Compliance Method:

Where appropriate for the use intended, specify traction elevators and/or escalators that feature energy-saving mechanisms and controls that meet Title 8 and Title 24, and feature regenerative drive systems. If submitted on a deferred approval basis, actual elevator and/or escalator product data should be made available to the enforcing agency.


Plan intake: The plan reviewer should confirm that the construction documents for elevators and/or escalators show specifications that include features for energy savings as well as meet Title 8 and Title 24. The reviewer should request product data and specifications for elevators and/or escalators be submitted separately as a deferred approval.

On-site enforcement: The inspector should verify that the elevators and/or escalators and controls specified are installed as called for in the construction documents. Typically, elevators and escalators are also inspected by the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety & Health, in addition to any building inspections.

(Excerpted from ‘Guide to the 2022 California Green Building Standards Code Nonresidential’ – Chapter 5)

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