Sustainable Energy Management for Underground Stations

(duration: 10/2011 – 12/2014 /// funding: CORDIS FP7 – Energy-Efficient Buildings)

SEAM4US logoIn large metropoles such as London or Delhi, the underground transportation system is the biggest  energy consumer of the city, using as much electricity as 250,000 households. Over 30% of this energy is used by lighting, ventilation, climate control, security, information and communication, ticketing, and signalling systems in and around the underground stations.

Although energy efficiency is internationally high on the political agenda, little is known about day-to-day energy consumption in these massive transportation hubs.

Through empirical modelling of energy consumption and designing distributed control mechanisms for the metro station, the SEAM4US project was expected to reduce energy consumption by 5% - 10%. The Barcelona metro system has been used as a live test grounds.

User and environmental modelling and control

Metro Station Barcelona

The SEAM4US project proposed several steps towards reducing energy consumption. First, analysis would point out which systems are wasting energy under real-world conditions. Energy consumption by these systems has been empirically modelled during and off peak hours and under different daily and seasonal weather conditions.

In order to increase energy savings for such systems, users were encouraged to use the station in an energy-saving way. During off-peak hours, passengers could for instance be guided towards the main areas, so that in the auxiliary areas the lights could be dimmed, or elevators and ticket machines shut down. Of course, these areas had to be monitored for increased use, so passenger occupancy and flow models had to be acquired.

Another way to improve energy efficiency in the station's systems, for example for ventilation,  is exploiting external factors, such as outside temperature, wind or air flow from moving trains. These form renewable energy sources, which make overall climate and air quality operations cheap and low-power. In order to take full advantage of such factors, they must be predicted by empirical models, and a sensor-actuator network must be in place to open or close doors and windows.

Metro Barcelona


The project partners focused on the empirical modelling of energy management in metro-stations and their surroundings by applying building and environmental physics, user/group and business modelling techniques. They intended to develop a monitoring grid, deployable in public spaces and integrated with the Hydra middleware platform.

As a result, an advanced energy management prototype for metro stations has been designed and developed. This has been tested in the Passeig De Gracia metro station in Barcelona. SEAM4US also provided in the validation of the system's performance and impact, posing special attention to criticalities related to the application of new ICT technologies and in large organizations and in old technological contexts.

It turned out that the new management system offers a reduction of energy used for lighting, forced ventilation and passenger transfer systems of several per cent. The extrapolation of these percentages to the whole metro network of Barcelona results in an impressive energy saving figure that ranges from 13 to 15 GWh/y, which corresponds to a CO2 saving figure that ranges from 7x10^3 to 8x10^3 of Tons CO2/y1 .

Almende's contribution

Almende has designed and developed the passenger occupancy monitoring system via advanced computer vision algorithms performed over the videos taken by the existing CCTV infrastructure. The company also took care of the deployment of such system in the pilot station and integration with the rest of the SEAM4US architecture.  Besides that, Almende contributed to the development of the intelligent control algorithms of SEAM4US and to the development and deployment of the overall SEAM4US architecture.


SEAM4US project website



Fraunhofer GesellschaftTransports Metropolitans de BarcelonaUniversität Kassel

Università Politecnica delle MarcheUniversitat Politecnica de Catalunya


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