4.1. Applications in the public transport sector

Transport companies operate various types of buildings, which can be improved by designing them more efficiently in terms of energy use.

Office buildings

Although office buildings are not representative of public transport infrastructure per se, they are a significant part of the energy use of public transport companies. Their sustainability can be greatly improved during the design phase. Several familiar methodologies can be harnessed to achieve results in this field. Nevertheless, a good design must be followed by clear actions in order to maintain the building properly, especially in terms of heating, ventilation and lighting, to maximise the benefits.


Metro or light-rail stations are never solely renovated with a view to reducing energy consumption and environmental impacts. There are always other considerations, such as increasing capacity or modernising the area. Underground stations may have staff offices, which are often invisible to customers. They include spaces where operational staff can rest, have lunch or organise a meeting. Usually these offices have no direct daylight and no connection to the natural gas grid. Significant energy savings can be achieved by improving the design of these offices.

The inclusion of energy saving and sustainability issues in renovation plans for stations is a relatively new trend in public transport. It is important to apply a consistent and applicable approach when enhancing the energy efficiency and overall sustainability of a transport system. A set of guidelines should also be developed, in order to achieve this and guide the renovation process.

Depots and workshops

All public transport networks need places in which to stable, protect and maintain their rolling stock. A metro or a tram is an especially complex and expensive piece of machinery, requiring careful maintenance.

A depot must be considered the heart of any transport network: it is the hub from where all vehicles spread out across the city to offer high-level services to local citizens. It is also the place where maintenance is carried out on a daily basis to ensure a smooth and seamless transport experience.


Given depots’ long lifespan, sometimes up to a century, it is important to focus on long-term initiatives to achieve sustainability. Although ecodesign of a depot may seem expensive at first, it will often bring significant may seem expensive at first, it will often bring significant benefits in the long run. Moreover, the latest techniques are used when building a new depot and these can provide reference points for the construction sector in general.

The sustainable design of tram depots has been thoroughly analysed in the European TramStore21 project. A comprehensive approach for designing modern and innovative stabling and maintenance halls can be found on the project website: www.tramstore21.eu