Dear PoP – “Reeve’s Center Waste of Energy”

“Dear PoP,

I thought some of your readers might be as enraged as I by the situation in the Reeve’s Center on 14th/U, documented in the attached photo. They have shut down the escalators, supposedly to save energy. Yet, it is not at all clear where the alternative, human-powered vertical circulation options are located. Every person I observed took the power-hungry elevators. I had to search for a stairwell, only to end up in the confusing bowels of the building.”

That is odd. Shouldn’t they just turn off the escalators and let people walk/up down them? Do you think turning off the escalators is a good way of conserving energy?

37 Comment

  • can’t someone just move those big blocks of cheddar cheese? Stick it to the man….

    Also, according to Mitch Hedberg:
    An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You would never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.”

  • Elevators generally use less energy than escalators, particularly when they’re lightly trafficked.

  • Makes sense to me. I wonder if there’s an ADA or liability issue with not having a landing, though? It seems like the existence of the elevator ought to be enough, but the lawyers work in mysterious ways.

  • Mitch Hedberg would not be pleased.

    but seriously, that does seem pretty ridiculous. just shut them off and let people use them as stairs. Metro does it all the time, although I dont think its to conserve energy

  • They should install sensors that only turn the escalators on when someone approaches them.

  • Well, it conserves my energy by not making me walk up to the second floor.

  • Is that a DC government building?! Dont they have something else better to do.

  • Why are we paying taxes? Why are we paying taxes?

    • Did you drive to work today, take a shower, use electricity, etc, etc, etc …

    • well, the fire department and ems are great.
      and my trash always gets picked up.
      and the roads are better than they’ve ever been.
      and the traffic lights and cross signals mostly work.
      and cops respond to over 50% of my 911 calls.
      and i like public pools.
      and my street lights.
      and the library is okay.

      but i guess i could just bitch.

  • I read somewhere (I think UnsuckDCMetro) that people walking on escalators instead of just standing on them causes more strain on the mechanics of the escalator. This was touted as the reason breakdowns are so common on Metro escalators (commuters walking up a moving escalator), but I imagine a stopped escalator would still be affected by this (like if you were constantly trying to push the tread of a stopped treadmill, you put strain on the stopped motor)

    tl;dr – Walking on stopped escalators is bad for the stopped escalator, maybe?

    • The “it causes more strain to walk up it than ride it” is total and undignified BS.

      This “closing to save power” and not leaving the stairs open to walk is about the most epic fail I’ve seen in awhile.

    • what about fat people? I’m sure a 350 lb person from Kansas wearing jean shorts causes more strain than I ever will. especially when they have to shift from left to right.

  • Here’s an interesting article from Slate about comparing elevators to escalators:

    To sum it up, elevators use less energy in light traffic, but probably more than turn the escalators off and into stairs.

  • Fire poles for down and catapults for up.

  • My question: What the heck were you doing in the Reeves Center anyway? What is in there? Terrible, terrible building on such a– now— prime corner. I do love though the giant in-your-face reminder that Marion Barry is the mayor.

  • I work there. It has energy is not the reason, but it’s good propaganda. They reconfigured security and they closed the escalators so all visitors would be funneled through a centralized security station. But turning them off happens to be energy efficient too, so they went with that as the public reason.

    And whoever brought up building codes has a point. Stairs over a certain length require a landing midway in the stairs. In theory the landing will stop anyone tumbling down the stairs. Kind of like the inverse of a runaway truck ramp. Since elevators can’t have a landing in the middle, code officials and liability hens don’t like people using escalators as stairs.

  • As someone whose living room overlooks the Reeves center, this has to be the least energy efficient building. They will leave the lights on for days at a time. Entire floors or sections will be lit throughout the weekend.

  • I suspect it’s part of the large Reeves Center renovation project which is due to be completed in 2012.

  • It’s illegal to leave the escalators open if they are non-functioning. Well at least it is in MD, VA, NY and most other urban areas.

Comments are closed.