Emergency Lift Power Systems (ELPS) and Uninterrupted Power Systems (UPS) are both emergency power solutions designed to act as a reliable backup power source when the usual supply, typically the mains, fails.

While there are a range of emergency power and backup solutions on the market, each designed for a range of applications and industries, we’re going to focus on their use in providing power for emergency lifts in this comparison.

Here at Power Systems International, we’ve been providing industry-leading emergency lift power solutions across the globe for over a decade.

Let’s take a closer look at Emergency Lift Power Systems, comparing ELPS and UPS solutions to help you determine which is the perfect solution for you.

Emergency Evacuations

All commercial and/or multi-residence properties must have an emergency evacuation plan in place, with a focus on scenarios that include fire or power failure. Plus, with a rise in both mid and high-rise buildings popping up across the UK, these plans gain even more significance when vertical evacuations are brought into the mix.

If you’re responsible for a building, whether in the design, the development or the maintenance, it’s crucial that you have a risk assessment in place that takes into account a power outage. Recent changes to UK legislation, including the BS 9999 regulation, means that every lift intended for use in evacuations must have an alternative power supply in place.

And that’s where our ELPS and UPS solutions come into play!

What are Emergency Lift Power Systems?

An Emergency Lift Power System is exactly what it sounds like – a backup power solution specifically designed for use in emergency lifts. An ELPS consists primarily of three components: a charger, batteries, and an inverter.

It works by taking the three-phase supply from the mains and using this to power the elevator, whilst also charging the batteries simultaneously. Then, in the event of power failure when the mains supply is lost, the batteries take over, generating a three-phase output to power the lift for evacuations.

Once mains power is back on, the ELPS switches back to using this as the primary power source, while recharging the batteries, automatically!

What are Uninterruptible Power Systems?

Like an Emergency Lift Power System, an Uninterruptible Power System is a solution designed to provide backup power when the mains supply fails. However, unlike the ELPS which is specific to lifts and elevators, a UPS has a wider range of uses and applications.

As well as providing backup power solutions, UPSs also have two additional functions. They also ‘clean’ the power coming from the mains to ensure your devices are receiving the correct voltage and frequency in an uninterrupted state, as well as providing ride-through power to cover you in the event of any short-term outages or dips.

While they can be used in emergency lifts, Uninterruptible Power Systems can also be used in a wide variety of industries and scenarios – but we’ll get into this next…

Uses of UPS

  • Backup power for critical equipment in hospitals, i.e. life support machines, breathing apparatus, etc.
  • Constant and secure power supply for critical equipment in data centres
  • Uninterrupted power for security systems
  • Backup power for emergency communication systems

Uses of ELPS

  • Emergency power for lifts when the mains power supply fails
  • Power for emergency lighting
  • Backup power for Fire Alarm Systems
  • Emergency communication systems, i.e. intercoms in buildings, communication systems in lifts, etc.
  • Backup power for emergency ventilation systems

UPS for Emergency Evacuations

Uninterruptible Power Systems came way before the invention of ELPS, and have been installed in buildings across the globe to assist with emergency evacuations for many years. From a building design perspective, they come in very handy for emergency evacuation purposes, as they make sure vital power isn’t shut off in times of need.

UPSs are recognised by many standard building safety and fire regulations, including the BS 9999, as a suitable solution for providing secondary power in emergencies.

When maintained correctly, with regular services, Uninterruptible Power Systems can last for up to 13 years. However, UPS units typically have a shorter operation time than ELPSs, and so for this reason, are typically recommended for smaller buildings where the need for emergency vertical evacuations is lesser.

ELPS for Emergency Evacuations

Compared to a UPS that has a range of applications, ELPS units were specifically designed to assist in the event of an emergency evacuation. These systems aid in your compliance with a range of essential health and safety standards, specifications and regulations, including BS, EN and IEC.

Although they were created for emergency evacuations, ELPS units have shown proven use in a variety of contexts, including schools, hospitals, care homes, universities, apartment blocks and other buildings.

Emergency Power Lift Systems are reliable tools to invest in for the safe and efficient evacuation of any individuals who are unable to use the stairs or another fire evacuation route independently. They are essentially a standby power system that can be used on any lift, including traction and hydraulic lifts, in an emergency situation.

When an emergency scenario occurs, a certified or authorised individual is able to control the system from an external switch, typically located by the lift call button. Once the unit is activated the individual can then operate the manually for a certain period of time/a certain amount of journeys – as recommended in the BS 9999 regulations.

For more information on the regulations surrounding emergency evacuations, please check out our helpful BS 9999 and DDA Legislations Guide today.

The limit is usually set to around 10 upward and 10 downward journeys; however, you can alter the limits depending on the requirements of your building. For example, larger buildings, or buildings purpose-built for the elderly or disabled will require more journeys and/or a longer amount of time.

When not in use, an ELPS unit will keep its batteries fully charged, meaning the system is always prepared for emergency scenarios when they’re needed.

Though they have a longer operation time than UPS units, an Emergency Lift Power System will last for around 10 years, compared to the 13 years expected of a UPS.

ELPS Vs UPS – Which is Right for You?

Unfortunately, there isn’t just one answer to this question… The right type of backup power supply for your emergency evacuation needs ultimately depends on what your requirements are, and what you need in order to fulfil safety requirements and regulations.

Both ELPS units and UPS units will get the job done safely and effectively. However, it is worth mentioning that an ELPS unit is the more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly option out of the two.

When not in use, these units typically use up only 250 watts of electricity, which in relative terms could save you around £2,500 a year when compared to other evacuation units.

Whichever option you choose, you can trust Power Systems International for all your emergency power needs! Our friendly team will help find the perfect solution to fit your needs, simply contact us today via phone at 01494 871544 or email us at info@powersystemsinternational.com.