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ABB upgrades landmark buildings in Zaragoza’s Smart City project with energy monitoring system

Ekip UP enables Spanish city to take first steps towards ISO standards for energy management


The city of Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, Spain, has become a leader among the world’s metropolitan centers in embracing digital technology, and ABB is helping the city achieve its digital vision. This was made possible thanks to the energy efficiency and maintenance contract awarded to the Spanish company IMESA through public tender. In Zaragoza, citizens, civic leaders, urban planners, private companies, entrepreneurs and universities are collaborating on a smart city ecosystem designed to advance digital and societal inclusion.

Among the focal points of these efforts are four major Zaragoza Smart City buildings: the historical Seminario of Zaragoza, which houses City Hall offices, the main City Hall, the main police station and the Technology & Art Center.

To extend the Smart City concept to these buildings required an energy monitoring system that would bring them into compliance with the ISO 50001 standard. This standard supports organizations in using energy more efficiently, specifically through the development of an energy management system. Furthermore, the city sought to reduce its total energy consumption by 20 percent and to shrink its carbon dioxide footprint, all through improved monitoring and control of its energy usage.

Zaragoza turned to ABB for the technology to support these goals. The city had an established and trusted relationship with ABB, and ABB offered advanced energy monitoring through a cloud-based energy management platform, part of the ABB AbilityTM portfolio, incorporating multiple technologies.

Ekip UP digitizes electrical system in historical buildings

Key among these technologies is Ekip UP, part of the ABB Ability digital offering, which is specifically designed for existing installations like the four buildings targeted in Zaragoza. Ekip UP is the unit that upgrades the electronics of old facilities to make them digital. It is designed as a cost-effective way to retrofit any electrical distribution system. This smart unit connects existing facilities to cloud-based ABB Ability supervision systems, providing remote monitoring to allocate various resources and reduce expenditures. Its embedded software optimizes service continuity and energy efficiency, saving up to 30 percent in operational costs. Having metering, protection and control functions in one versatile product provides the possibility to use it in many applications. Leveraging plug-and-play communication modules, different mounting options and open-core current sensors, the installation of Ekip UP has only a minor impact on the power distribution assets and it is 50 percent faster than traditional revamping solution.

“For Zaragoza’s Smart City, Ekip UP represents an important advancement over the regular devices, like network analyzers, that we had been using,” said Javier Pérez, Energy Manager of the Zaragoza City Hall. “Some of our installed equipment had no communication capabilities for monitoring or control. ABB’s solution gave us the flexibility to adapt new technologies to any type of existing switchboards, even with circuit breakers from another brand. Ekip UP increased commissioning speed and scalability so that a common solution could be replicated for all our major buildings.”

The technologies that ABB installed included Ekip UP with advanced metering, a complete set of network analyzer registers, Ekip UP’s integrated data logger, open-core current sensors, the plug-and-play communication modules, and connectivity for advanced energy monitoring through ABB Abilitycloud-based system. ABB also provided technical training for installers from Spain’s IMESA Company, and for the city’s engineers. Additionally, ABB delivered technical guidance for the entire solution, incorporating metering products, digital energy monitoring, the cloud-based platform and energy-efficiency consulting.

Zaragoza powers toward ISO compliance

As a consequence of ABB’s collaboration with the city, Zaragoza was able to fulfill the first steps on its way to compliance with ISO 50001 for the buildings involved. Moreover, the ABB technology resulted in a significant reduction in the number of components used compared with competitors’ solutions, and installation was completed very quickly with easy commissioning.

“The city of Zaragoza has found a unique and trusted technology and business partner to help it comply with ISO standards and to achieve its energy efficiency goals,” said Giampiero Frisio, Managing Director of ABB’s Smart Power business. “Now, our success with upgrading these major Spanish buildings has opened the door to make more cities around the world smart and sustainable.”

In addition to the Ekip UP technologies, the project incorporated additional offerings from ABB’s low-voltage portfolio, such as miniature circuit breakers, residual current devices and enclosures.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in power grids, electrification products, industrial automation and robotics and motion, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner in ABB Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.

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