Campus Notebook: Moran, Slaughter Seek to Shut Down Rayburn Escalators

Posted August 2, 2010 at 6:31pm

Citing a waste of electricity and space as well as unpleasant metallic odors, Democratic Reps. Jim Moran (Va.) and Louise Slaughter (N.Y.) co-wrote a letter to the Architect of the Capitol urging him to consider removing four escalators from the Rayburn House Office Building.

“We are asking the country to adopt strategies to reduce our energy use. … We should be modeling that behavior,” the lawmakers wrote.

Removing the “rarely used” escalators, which run from the Capitol subway exit to Rayburn’s first floor, would reduce the building’s energy costs in accord with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) “Green the Capitol” initiative, the lawmakers argued. “The escalators are unlikely to be missed by users of the building,” reads the letter, dated Thursday. “They could be turned into office space, as has happened on the second, third and fourth floors where the escalators were designed to operate but were never installed.”

The legislators also proposed turning off other escalators that run between the Longworth and Rayburn House office buildings, running escalators intermittently or using sensors that would run the escalators only when needed.

“Other options in escalator technology are ‘soft start’ escalators that use less energy when fewer people are on them,” the letter reads.

Eva Malecki, spokeswoman for Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers, said the department already turns off the escalators after hours and has installed energy-efficient motors and parts in elevators and escalators during routine maintenance.

“The AOC appreciates the suggestion and will study the feasibility, cost and energy reduction associated with the proposal,” she said.