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Trustpower is New Zealand's fifth largest electricity generator and the fourth largest electricity retailer, operating 34 power stations throughout New Zealand and Australia. Trustpower generate 100% of its electricity using renewable energy sources, primarily hydro-electric but also wind farms.

Critical Room Solutions (CRS) were engaged by Trustpower to perform consultancy for the design of the control room at their new premises in Tauranga’s Central Business District in the north island of New Zealand, with a view to also deliver the final result.

The brief stated that the new control room would need to accommodate for two full consoles and to reduce the number of screens on each console, which was currently 18, and to also make recommendations that are particular to control room environments using the experience and knowledge of CRS’s experts.

CRS carried out a detailed requirements analysis, working closely with the duty operations staff and project stakeholders to identify problems of the current control room and offer solutions for the new one. The areas for improvement included inefficient use of screens, poor cable management, a lack of storage and insufficient meeting space.

CRS went away and designed a proposed layout for the new control room that reduced the number of screens on each console from 18 to 10 high definition screens, included ample storage solutions, a meeting room along with smart solutions for quick meetings. The proposed layout factored in environment considerations such as natural lighting, room lighting, and personal lighting control for focused tasks using task lights attached to each console and recommended roller blind solutions for managing natural lighting.

CRS recommended the Response console by world leading console manufacturer Evans Consoles. The Response console features sit / stand capabilities at the touch of a button, smart CPU storage and cable management, ergonomic soft waterfall nosing, a rear slat wall design for mounting monitors off the desk surface and clip-on accessories such as radios and task lights, and come with lifetime warranty.

CRS worked closely with the duty shift operators to conduct a detailed analysis of screen use, resulting in the reduction of the total number of screens on each console from 18 to 10. The screen use analysis led to a new optimised arrangement for operator applications based on high to low use and monitoring importance. The lower number of screens also led to a reduced number of keyboards, mice and KVM boxes, resulting in more space for the operators.

With over 25 years of experience, CRS has the expertise to give a holistic approach to control room design and gave Trustpower recommendations on room factors such as low rolling resistance floor tiles, acoustic absorbing finishes such as ceiling tiles and on walls or consoles. CRS gave recommendations on energy efficient heating and cooling solutions for operator comfort, sustainability, flexibility, health and environment.

After the successful conclusion of the consulting phase, CRS was awarded the project. CRS delivered a 6.8m long Response console featuring two individually controllable worksurfaces for each operator and supplied monitor mounts, task lights, and power connectivity.  CRS managed all facets of the project from design consultation to product sourcing to installation.

“The service provided by CRS was professional, efficient and concise. Time was taken interacting with staff to understand our needs, requirements and limitations. In addition design elements of the overall building were incorporated into the final CRS design. With regards to the install of equipment provided by CRS, their service was flexible enough to fit with the overall build programme and resolution of teething issue was good. Operations staff and Trustpower management are extremely pleased with the final product, with the working environment greatly improved.”
- Peter Litchfield, Operations Engineer, Trustpower