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Unison Shortlisted at National Awards for Industry First Sustainable Energy Design

May 04, 2022 01:41 PM

Unison Networks has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards, for its pioneering sustainability work on the newly operational Windsor Substation.

Located in Parkvale, Hastings, the revolutionary substation services approximately 3,500 residential and commercial accounts in the local areas.

In a first for the industry, it has been designed and built in a way that reduces carbon footprint and uses materials that are kind on the environment and people.

“When Windsor Substation’s 11kV switchboard reached the end of its life, Unison identified the opportunity to pilot an innovative and sustainable substation,” says Jaun Park, Unison General Manager Networks and Operations.

“Our vision at Unison is to lead a sustainable energy future that supports consumers’ changing energy needs, while enabling our communities to prosper for generations to come.

“Rebuilding Windsor Substation presented an opportunity for Unison to materialise our vision and showcase how modern substations can be safe and functional, as well as flexible, sustainable and beautiful.”

“It is a showcase of sustainability and provides Unison and the wider industry with a platform to reap the benefits of sustainability for the future of the sector,” said Mr Park. 

Key features of the design were informed by the Living Building Challenge Framework, a stringent international green building certification that applies to building projects.

The significant sustainability features of Windsor Substation are:

  • A 363% reduction in carbon compared to a typical substation
  • Solar energy powered, with excess energy sent back to the grid
  • Captures and recycles water
  • Constructed using locally sourced, repurposed and environmentally friendly materials
  • Native habitat established

Assisted by Charissa Snijders Architect and Tricia Love Consultants Ltd, experts from across the sustainable building industry, Unison engineers designed and built Windsor Substation to be modular, meaning it can be replicated and built again across the network, and relocatable.

Project Engineering Team Leader, Paul Humphreys, says this small building has potential beyond its size to not only help meet future demand, but to help build engagement with Unison’s customers and the wider community around the future vision and direction of the organisation, and the wider electricity industry.

“The project provides the potential to be a catalyst for industry change. It provides Unison with a platform for future projects and future flexibility,” says Mr Humphreys.

The New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards provide an annual opportunity to recognise excellence and achievement across the energy sector.

The awards recognise best practice in Aotearoa’s energy sector, celebrating the industry’s important contribution to society and the economy.

Windsor Substation has been shortlisted for the Low Carbon Future Award, sponsored by BusinessNZ Energy Council, which celebrates emissions reduction initiatives undertaken by the New Zealand energy sector. 

Judges said they were blown away by the calibre of projects, products and people put forward this year and to be chosen as a finalist is a significant achievement.

Unison Networks UCSL crews in Dunedin were also instrumental in delivering the Harbour Crossing Project which Aurora Energy has been shortlisted for at the same Awards.

Winners of the Awards will be announced at the New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards black tie gala event in Christchurch on 29th June.

Click here for more information about Windsor Substation.
Click here for more information on the New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards