Eco-Design in Orona Products

Orona headquarters

This case study describes the efforts and achievements of Orona in applying eco-design methods to a lift.

This case study describes the efforts and achievements of San Sebastian, Spain-based Orona in ap-plying eco-design methods to a lift. The company believes that designing an elevator while taking into account the whole lifecycle, making special effort in reduction of material usage and reducing energy consumption, leads to significant savings in building energy consumption. The Orona 3G 1063 lift, a standard, regulation lift with a nominal load capacity of 630 kg and an estimated useful life-time of around 30 years, was selected for environmental assessment and improvement. It has an electric drive that runs at 1 mps and is designed for use in residential and public buildings. An environmental assessment of this product revealed that the biggest environmental impact was that as-sociated with its use (79% of the total impact), followed by the purchasing of materials (21%). The end-of-life stage has an impact of -5% (i.e., there is an environmental benefit equivalent to 5% of the overall im-pact of the lift). This is due to the high potential for recycling of the various components and materials.

The project to apply eco-design methods at Orona has improved the overall environmental impact of the new lift model by 19%. Energy consumption during its useful lifetime has been reduced by 22%. The project also enabled eco-design methods to be incorporated into the working methods of the company in line with its environmental interests and motivations.

Improvements in the product include a 7% reduction in the total weight of the lift and elimination of the use of lubricant oil in the machinery. A further improvement at the company is alignment with the requirements of the future enterprise unified process (EUP) directive (trans-posed into Spanish law through Royal Decree 1369/2007).

Project Startup

In 2006, Orona resorted to Ihobe’s Producto Más Ambiental (More Environmentally Friendly Product) environmental-compliance assistance service for an analysis and simplified, preliminary implementation of eco-design in its Orona 3G 1063 lift. Orona’s motivations for applying eco-design were identified, a full environmental assessment of the product was conducted using qualitative and quantitative tools covering its full lifecycle, improvement ideas were generated, the viability of those ideas was analyzed, and a plan of action was drawn up for environmental improvements in the lift.

Evelina Children’s Hospital in London

The Evelina Children’s Hospital is a specialist unit for children forming part of St. Thomas’ Hospital on the South Bank in London. Hopkins Architects designed it as a practical space, full of light and with a happy and fun atmosphere. Unlike classic hospitals with long corridors, this one consists of a simple section of two long blocks flanking a central concourse that rises the full height of the building. Here, bottom-driven traction scenic ma-chine-room-less passenger and bed passenger lifts were installed by Orona.

Barcelona Subway

One of the largest and most important Orona projects was done in the Barcelona Subway in 2010. Here, the company installed 57 escalators and 24 lifts for the extension of Line 5 between Horta and Vall d’Hebron in a record time of 11 months. At this installation, Orona’s lifts alone transport three-and-a-half times the whole population of Barcelona each month — about five and a half million.

Alicante Airport

In the recently inaugurated added section of the Alicante Airport, Orona has installed more than 90 passenger and heavy-duty lifts, escalators and moving walkways to make the Alicante Airport a much more accessible place for the 20 million passengers who fly from or to this mod-ern and touristic city. Architect and designer Bruce Fair-banks and his team based all their work on two concepts: bioclimatic architecture and functionality.

The good results obtained in this first experience convinced Orona to commit to applying eco-design in its projects. To that end, the company developed and implemented an environmental-management system for its design and development process in 2008. That system has been awarded a certificate of compliance with eco-design standard UNE 150301:2003.

Environmental Assessment

To identify the main environmental aspects of the Orona 3G 1063 lift throughout its lifecycle (including pur-chase of materials, manufacturing, transport, use and up-keep), a simulation was run and analyzed using Ecodis-eño Orona, an in-house lifecycle-analysis software tool developed using eco-indicator 99 methods to quantify environmental impact.

Figure 1 shows the environmental profile of the Orona 3G 1063 lift. It can be seen in Figure 2 that 21% of the overall environmental impact (assuming a useful lifetime of around 30 years) stems from the material purchasing stage, 1% from manufacturing, 3% from transport, 79% from use, 2% from upkeep and -5% from the end-of-life stage.

A more detailed analysis of the environmental profile identified the following as the most significant environ-mental aspects of the lift (and, thus, the priorities for environmental improvement):

  • Use of lubricant oil
  • Total weight of the lift
  • Noise levels during use
  • Electricity consumption during use


Orona’s main motivations in applying eco-design were:

  • Environmental responsibility: Believing that small projects can create big changes, Orona strives to make its products environmentally friendly.
  • Strategy:Orona’s aims to achieve a more sustainable urban future, environmental technologies and globally recognized green building systems are progressing. Well-designed lifts and escalators guarantee better features for users and lower maintenance costs during their lifecycle, and constitute a more efficient and economical solution. One of the most significant environ-mental aspects of EUPs is energy consumption during their useful lifetimes. Aside from the environmental implications of that consumption, there is also a significant financial cost for the user, so the efforts of manufacturers in all areas concerned with improving the actual use of reduction of energy consumption and consumables (EUPs) will be welcomed by consumers if they are properly implemented and communicated.
  • Legislation: The EUP industry faces a new challenge with the imminent introduction of the EUP directive, which establishes a legal framework throughout the European Union of mandatory environmental-design requirements for certain EUPs before they can be marketed or put into service. In fact, the industry is being “obliged” to eco-design.
  • Eco-innovation: Eco-design can be used as a tool for eco-innovation, identifying the most significant envi-ronmental aspects of a product throughout its lifecycle and acting at the design and development stages to prevent those impacts by implementing innovative de-sign and functionality solutions such as new materials, components, technologies, etc. This can also make products more competitive.

Design of the New Product

Once the most significant environmental aspects of the Orona 3G 1063 lift product were identified and the com-pany’s environmental motivations were determined, Orona proceeded to identify and evaluate potential eco-design measures and strategies for improving the lift. Not all measures initially considered were incorporated into the improved design; some proved technically or financially unfeasible. The measures eventually applied were as follows.

Material-Purchasing Stage

  • Actions taken: Use of gearless machinery, high yield-strength jamming mechanisms and PU diverting pulleys
  • Results: Complete elimination of lubricant oil in the machinery and a 7% reduction in total lift weight

Use Stage

  • Actions taken: Higher-performing gearless machinery
  • Result: 22% reduction in energy consumption


Figure 3 provides an environmental comparison be-tween lift models Orona 3G 1063 and Orona 3G 1015. The latter incorporates the eco-design measures described here. As can be seen, an overall environmental improvement of 19% is achieved in the new model, with a 22%improvement in the use stage as a result of reduced energy consumption.

Anchoring of Eco-Design

Apart from designing an initial range of eco-designed products, the objective of this project was to anchor eco-design methods in the company’s modus operandi. This objective has been met, as can be seen from the fact that the company has obtained a certificate for its eco-design management system under standard UNE 150301:2003, in addition to the certificates it already held for its quality system as per ISO 9001:2000 and its environmental man-agement system as per ISO 14001:2004. This new system incorporates a working instruction into the company’s overall management system, which establishes how environmental variables must be factored into the design and development stages of its products.


Orona is one of the biggest lift manufacturers in Spain and among the highest in the world in terms of turnover. It forms part of the Prestige Ranking system, a distinction granted by institutions to the top 0.1% most solvent firms on the market. The company is a member of MCC (Mon-dragón Corporación Cooperativa), one of Spain’s leading business groups, which has an overall workforce of 103,000.

Since its founding in 1964, Orona has established strategic partnerships with other companies and brought major domestic and foreign companies from its sector into its organization. All processes, products and services at Orona are certified under UNE-EN ISO 9001 Module H, Directive 95/16/CE for quality assurance, UNE-EN ISO 14001 for environmental management and UNE 150301. The company has almost 4,000 employees at premises throughout Spain and distribution points in more than 92 countries. Eco-Design in Orona

Since Orona was founded as a cooperative, it has been governed on the basis of solidarity, seeking to ensure effective financial management, environmental quality, environ-mental friendliness and social equality. In 2008, Orona acquired the UNE150301 Eco-design certification. It has produced a new machine-room-less lift that uses a gearless drive. This new model consumes 45% less energy than a conventional, two-speed model and 95% less energy than a hydraulic lift, and requires less space and can provide higher standards of service and comfort. Other elevator models and eco-efficiency kits are available in the com-pany’s product catalog, as well as efficient machines, efficient lighting systems and different elevator-control eco options, allowing energy savings during elevator use.

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Elevator World | October 2011 Cover