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Eco-Friendly Shopping: Don't Take the Escalator!

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Escalator Just another extension of our convenience culture, escalators have no real practicality. Though a passenger weighing 170 pounds, riding upwards on a 30-step escalator, will only increase the energy cost of that escalator by one thousandth of a cent, it’s best to stay off these energy hogs. The real energy waste occurs when no one is riding. According to Next American City, countless escalators churn truss rods and gears without a single passenger in hotel lobbies, office buildings, airports, and shopping malls daily. The national energy use of escalators is estimated at 2.6 billion kilowatt hours per year, which is equivalent to powering 375,000 houses (or the city of Dayton, Ohio and its suburbs); its cost is roughly $260 million.


Because installation of an escalator can cost anywhere from $150,000 to half a million dollars, the combination of installation, operation, and maintenance of one elevator is more costly than raising a child in the United States. A staircase typically goes for $30,000 or less, and could simply be expanded to accommodate large masses of shoppers (one elevator can accommodate the elderly or handicapped). Taking the stairs is also beneficial for people’s cardiovascular health – ask any early-morning mall-walker. Take the stairs whenever possible.


Not so fun escalator facts:

·         The longest escalator in the Western Hemisphere is in Washington, D.C.’s Wheaton Metro station. It is 230 feet, serving up a three minute ride.

·         The shortest elevator ride exists (astonishingly) in the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, in front of its JCPenney, at a laughable height of six steps.


For environmentally friendly travel tips, check out RTM's Earth Tones Section.


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