EPCOR’S Garneau substation has been a fixture in the community for many years. Though still functional, the substation’s capacity has been outpaced by the rapidly growing energy requirements of the surrounding community. A solution was presented that would preserve the existing substation, ensure uninterrupted energy provision, and produce additional power supply to meet current and future energy demands: expanding the existing substation into an adjacent residential-zoned property.
The Garneau Substation presented us with an interesting and unique design challenge: to create a substation that would be powerful, highly technical, and which would also blend seamlessly into the surrounding residential neighbourhood. The Garneau neighbourhood is one of the oldest in Edmonton, with many historical buildings and mature trees. To maintain the character of the community, we designed a building reminiscent of a house, with a peaked roof and wooden vertical slats. The old, tree-shaded brick and wood building merges harmoniously with its environment and the mature and vibrant neighbourhood of Garneau. Only a couple of blocks away from the University of Alberta hospital and the bustling Whyte Avenue area, the site is subject to heavy foot and vehicle traffic. A project priority was to limit construction and related disturbances solely to EPCOR owned-property and to maintain positive relations with neighbouring residents.
To accommodate the expansion, the EPCOR-owned house to the west of the substation was removed and the new facility was designed to resemble in its form the previous residential home. Tall windows at the front of the building offer passerby a view into the facility’s interior and its equipment and operations. As there were no power outages and few traffic disturbances during construction, the substation is an excellent example of a project successfully executed and integrated with minimal disturbance to its environment and community.