• National Energy Excellence Awards recognise pioneering Hastings substation

National Energy Excellence Awards recognise pioneering Hastings substation

Unison Networks' Windsor Substation has been recognised at the New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards for pioneering sustainable practice. 

The substation, located in Parkvale, Hastings, was awarded the Low Carbon Future Award in Christchurch on Wednesday last week.

The award, sponsored by BusinessNZ Energy Council, celebrates emissions reduction initiatives undertaken by the New Zealand energy sector.

Unison Networks Chief Operating Officer Juan Park said when Windsor Substation’s 11kV switchboard reached the end of its life, Unison identified the opportunity to pilot an innovative, low-carbon switch-room that could change the way substations were designed and built in the future.

“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,” Park said. 

The new Windsor Substation has operated in its present state since January. 

The Unison Networks Team with Energy Excellence Awards MC Ben Hurley (Middle). Photo/Supplied.


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

It has a 363 per cent reduction in carbon compared with a typical substation, is solar energy powered with excess energy sent back to the grid, it captures and recycles water and is constructed using locally sourced, repurposed and environmentally friendly materials.

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 Unison with a platform for future projects and future flexibility,” Humphreys said. 

Unison Group Chief Executive Ken Sutherland says he is extremely proud of his team and grateful to have Unison recognised through this award.

"It is a testament to the incredible passion and commitment of our people in building a substation that is a catalyst for industry change.”

“Thanks to the Energy Excellence Awards, and congratulations to the other finalists in our category, Orion and Auckland Transport, for the innovative and exciting work they are doing to challenge the status quo in the energy sector.”