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The smart ventilation provided by SENER’s RESPIRA® system saves the Barcelona Metro network €1.7 M on its electricity bill


As part of its Energy Efficiency and Savings Plan, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) has published data indicating that the RESPIRA® smart ventilation system, installed in the Barcelona metro network since 2020, is yielding 3% savings in the network-wide electrical consumption, equivalent to 1.7 million euros.

The Director of Barcelona Metro, Oscar Playà, pointed out in recent statements to the media that smart and digitized ventilation management “guarantees health, and does so efficiently.” Ventilation, according to Playà, accounts for 40% of electricity use in stations, and with the digitization achieved with the RESPIRA® system, the director of the Barcelona Metro estimated the savings at 20%, or 3% of the network’s overall consumption, equivalent to 1.7 million euros. RESPIRA® is not just saving money; it is also contributing to sustainability by reducing electricity consumption by 6.2 GWh a year, which is equivalent to emitting 1,616 fewer tons of CO2.

Thanks to the ability of RESPIRA® to optimize HVAC systems with machine learning applications, and based on external parameters, RESPIRA® provides significant energy savings while maintaining comfortable conditions, thus maximizing the efficiency of the system. In the words of the data manager of the RESPIRA® team at SENER, Silvia Figuerola: “These data published by the TMB confirm the energy savings forecasts for the metro ventilation network that we had anticipated.” What’s more, RESPIRA® makes maintenance tasks more efficient by quickly identifying any abnormal operation in specific devices, and helping to determine those areas where new investments are most cost-effective. “As a result, the system helps us to efficiently and sustainably manage the equipment,” stated Figuerola.

How RESPIRA® works

RESPIRA® is an artificial intelligence system that is capable of lowering the heat index felt by passengers and metro workers by defining several criteria and reading parameters – such as the temperature, humidity and indoor air quality in the stations, and electricity consumption – in real time. These data are used by a dynamic algorithm to predict the environmental conditions inside stations (depending on the weather forecast, expected ridership levels and other factors) and then apply a mode of operation to each fan with the goal of improving the heat index while also minimizing electricity consumption. This way, RESPIRA® can be used to implement an optimal ventilation by sending individual speed setpoints to fans depending on the time and day.

Smart ventilation control also maximizes the amount of fresh air from the outside, a measure that results in increased hygiene inside the metro network and reduces the risk of spreading microorganisms, in keeping with guidelines from health authorities. This advantage will be particularly relevant with the arrival of fall and the expected spread of viruses that attack breathing passages, causing diseases such as the common cold, the flu and COVID-19.

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