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Insights How AI is reducing energy use at Reading Station

Digital twins ingeniously model aspects of the physical world in software. They're just one part of our Digital Future strategy and our employees' core capabilities that enable us to engineer better, safer and more sustainably.

An exciting digital collaboration

Our talented teams have collaborated with Cardiff University for almost two years on a digital twin programme. So, when Network Rail asked us to reduce Reading Station's energy consumption and carbon emissions, we went to Cardiff University's Computational Urban Sustainability Platform (CUSP).

Imagine simulating every aspect of a city!

CUSP creates digital twins of buildings, infrastructure and cities to streamline the design, build, operation and maintenance of assets. In this case, it allowed us to create a digital replica of the station. This digital twin also allowed us to manage the station's controls and facilities. For example, using the energy simulation model to just tweak the lighting and optimize machinery, like the escalators, we reduced the station's energy use by an impressive 20%!

"Digital twins are the centrepiece of our shift to technology-enhanced delivery at every asset's life stage. They give us the information we need to identify how to improve assets' energy and carbon performance, interrogate future scenarios, explore further recommendations and tell us how those interventions will work with unprecedented certainty."

—Nick Tune, Technical and Technology Director, Atkins’ Global Engineering & Design practice

Taking our places and spaces to Net-Zero.

In the project's next phase, we'll make the identified benefits a reality. CUSP's artificial intelligence (AI) function will learn the station's performance metrics based on user behaviour. It will directly predict and work out the best recommendations for improvements from CUSP's AI module.

How one project can make a difference to the world.

We're incredibly proud of our team's work with Cardiff University and Network Rail. It adds to the excellent digital twin solutions we deliver in rail and other sectors. Other inspiring projects include developing an operational digital twin for the Canada Line in Vancouver and creating a digital twin for the initial research phase of the Beckton Wastewater Treatment Works project for Thames Water.

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