Windsor Substation

Unison is proud to announce that its Windsor Substation has been honoured with the Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects Gisborne & Hawkes Bay Architecture Award for 2024. This accolade marks the third prestigious recognition for the substation, highlighting its role as a pioneering project in sustainable infrastructure design.

The Windsor Substation in Hastings serves approximately 3,500 residential and commercial accounts in the local area. It demonstrates Unison’s commitment to leading a sustainable energy future. Designed and built to reduce carbon footprints and utilise environmentally friendly materials, the substation is a trailblazer in the field of infrastructure sustainability.

When Windsor Substation’s 11kV switchboard reached the end of its life, Unison seized the opportunity to pilot an innovative and sustainable approach. The facility has been operational in its current state since 1 January 2022 and continues to be used to inform future redevelopment and replacement of existing substations.

Recognised Excellence

The architectural award is the latest in a series of accolades for the Windsor Substation. In July 2022, the substation was named the winner of the Low Carbon Future Award at the New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards. In 2023, it became the world’s first landscape and infrastructure project to receive Living Building Challenge 4.0 Petal Certification through the International Living Future Institute.

Charissa Snijders, the architect behind the project remarked, “The Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects Gisborne & Hawkes Bay Architecture Award is another key recognition this small but mighty project has received as it continues to be a beacon of transformation. Leading the way in sustainability, as a Living Building Petal certified infrastructure building – a world first in its typology and receiving the NZ Energy Excellence award in Low Carbon, it shows that when a client like Unison commits to transformational change and being sustainable leaders in their field, then magic can happen. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with them and Tricia Love Consultants on this project.”

Award Details

The award, part of the 2024 Hawkes Bay/Gisborne Architecture Awards, commends the Windsor Substation for its exceptional design and sustainability. The judges praised the project, noting, “This switchboard building sits quietly on a suburban street, accommodating some serious electrical hardware and telling a story about sustainable buildings. It’s an example of quiet architecture that fulfils a very functional brief. Architectural expression is given to the building form and composition. Careful thought has been given to the proportions and layout of the simple façade design, including its subtle colours. The building’s apparent simplicity belies the complexities and challenges of creating a truly sustainable building, and in doing so achieving a Living Building Petal.”

Open Source

In a move to support industry-wide sustainable practices, Unison has made the blueprints of the Windsor Substation available for reference. These designs are accessible on Unison’s website, providing invaluable resources for those looking to adopt similar sustainable building techniques.

Unison Group’s CEO Jaun Park says, “Unison is committed to supporting the industry’s transition to a sustainable energy future. This includes designing and developing sustainable, modular substations that support the decarbonisation efforts of the electricity sector.”

“In 2023 Unison made these plans available online. These plans are still available as our goal is to help accelerate the progress of our industry towards a sustainable energy future, making it simpler and more feasible for others to adopt sustainable building techniques and achieve further advancements in the field.”

Photo: John Cowpland / alphapix

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