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Enel Grids is looking for a new design concept for a prefabricated secondary substation, which must have innovative features in design, materials, and construction, incorporating the principles of sustainability and, in particular, a circular by design approach. The new design must ensure, both in the technical characteristics and in those of the product, the complete compliance with the technical and safety regulations currently in force for its use and installation, and must take into account the minimum dimensions necessary to house all the equipment normally found inside.



Secondary substations are electrical infrastructures dedicated to the transformation of medium voltage to low voltage, as well as to the control and the protection of the electricity grid and are accessed by Enel's expert staff. The described Challenge aims to identify an innovative architectural design of a street-level secondary substation that utilizes sustainable materials and improves the integration of the structure in rural and urban contexts, while retaining existing functionality.

Enel is committed to a sustainable business model, with a marked acceleration on decarbonization that foresees becoming zero-carbon by 2040. This approach is adopted by all the Group’s businesses and leverages the circular economy as the way to boost Net Zero through sustainable materials, modularity to extend useful life, and circular processes across and beyond the value chain, starting from the design and procurement phases up to production and end-of-life management. To maximize value creation and to ensure full implementation of each solution, a sustainable by design approach must be applied. This means starting from context analysis and from the identification of all solutions that avoid or minimize environmental and social impact, in order to guide the design of the new prefabricated secondary substations.

For questions about the challenge and your proposal, contact: infogridchallenges@enel.com.


The use of prefabricated secondary substations follows daily and ordinary activities that require internal interventions and inspections to be performed only by competent Enel personnel, in order to check the structure, and verify its integrity in the event of accidental impacts or any tampering. For the safety of Enel specialist personnel and third parties such as pedestrians, the secondary substation must comply with specific safety conditions.

The respective dimensions of the internal components that must be installed and maneuvered are highlighted but determining the layout of these components is not within the scope of this Challenge.


The purpose of this Challenge is the creation of new sustainable architectural concepts dedicated to secondary substations. The primary goal of the Challenge is the creation of an innovative sustainable architectonic modular system that allows a high degree of versatility, which is a necessary requirement to adapt the buildings and architectural elements to the different contexts of use present in the area.

The primary objectives are:

  • To promote a positive visual impact of these infrastructures that improves their insertion in the local area, favoring a more harmonious dialogue with the natural environment of the places where they are located.
  • To provide the prefabricated substations with new quality and innovation based on project research.
  • To be the symbol of a new vision of energy that the Company promotes and communicates: more participatory, bidirectional, sustainable, and enhances a closer relationship between the Company and customers. Provide for the possibility of conveying messages addressed to customers or to the various stakeholders of the Company.
  • Economic feasibility.
  • To integrate the circular perspective into the design with the aim of ensuring asset longevity, encouraging modularity and therefore component replacement and maintenance, as well as recycling/reuse of cabin materials at end of life. Key drivers of a circular by design approach include:
    • Product Structure/Architecture: reduce the number of components relative to the main functionality required and adopt a design that facilitates the removal of hazardous materials.
    • Components: use durable components and avoid hazardous materials.
    • Renewable Energy: include renewable energy sources for internal use.
    • Materials: as much as possible, select recyclable/recycled and energy-efficient materials and minimize the variability of materials used. Incorporating recycled materials in the design would be preferable. In particular, the use of most sustainable alternatives to traditional reinforced concrete would be the best option (including clinker replacement materials, recycled concrete, bio concrete).
    • Design for dismantling: the component must be designed to facilitate disassembly and recovery of all materials at the end of its life.

The jury that will evaluate the proposal will include representatives of Enel Grids and a number of high-level personalities from universities, institutions, and the design and architecture field.



Given the great variety of contexts to which the secondary substations relate, the Challenge is proposing three case-study sites in which to apply the proposed architectural concepts and strategies. These sites have been chosen as examples of three different contexts of use.


Secondary Substations located in an urban context of large municipalities:

  • The areas hosting the secondary substations might be small in size due to the high cost of land and the lack of available space in urban areas.
  • Urban secondary substations’ minimum internal dimensions: Width=1900 x Depth=2800 x Height=1800 mm.
  • Urban secondary substations’ minimum accessibility requirements: 4 (with 4 doors).
  • Urban secondary substations’ minimum door dimensions: door side 1-2: Width=2000 x Height=1600 mm; door side 3-4: Width=920 x Height=1600 mm.
  • Removable roof for component entry from the top. It must have proper hanging points for transportation and installation.

In Annex B1, the competitors will find CAD drawings and BIM models for the current urban secondary substations (Minibox).

It is not possible to apply size variations to doors and windows.



Secondary Substations located in semi-urban (small municipalities) or peripheral contexts:

  • The areas hosting the secondary substations are average in size, and in some cases have to cope with the high cost of land in semi-urban areas.
  • Semi-urban secondary substations’ minimum internal dimensions: Width=2300 x Depth=5530 x Height=[min. 2300, max. 2600] mm.
  • Semi-urban secondary substations’ minimum accessibility requirements: 1 (with 2 doors).
  • Semi-urban secondary substations’ minimum door dimension 1-2: Width=1250 x Height=2100 mm.
  • At least 2 windows with minimum dimensions: Width=1200 x Height=500 mm.
  • The roof must have proper hanging points for transportation and installation.

In Annex B2, the competitors will find CAD drawings and BIM models for the current semi-urban secondary substations (Standard Box).

It is not possible to apply size variations to doors and windows.



Secondary Substations located in rural contexts:

  • The areas hosting the secondary substations are usually (but not necessarily) large in size, thanks to the affordable cost of land in rural areas.
  • Rural secondary substations’ minimum internal dimensions: Width=1600 x Depth =2000 x Height=1800 mm.
  • Rural secondary substations’ minimum accessibility requirements: 3 (with 3 doors).
  • Rural secondary substations’ minimum door dimensions: door side 1: Width=1650 x Height=1600 mm; door side 2-3: Width=920 x Height=1600 mm.
  • Removable roof for component entry from the top. It must have proper hanging points for transportation and installation.

In Annex B3, the competitors will find CAD drawings and BIM models referred to the current rural secondary substations (Micro Box).

It is not possible to apply size variations to doors and windows.



1. Project modularity and replicability

The proposals must be modular, scalable, and adaptable both in their construction elements and in terms of their visual and stylistic features; their size and complexity will change according to the context of use and the type of associated electrical infrastructure. The architectural modules provided can be chosen and used based on the type and category of the intervention area, ensuring their replicability in any envisaged context. It is therefore important that the distinctive characteristics shared by the proposed architectural variants emerge clearly and are appropriately highlighted.

2. Visual and sustainability impact

New design and architectural interventions shall have the aim of enriching the skyline and the silhouette of the substation with an aesthetic-symbolic value, enhancing the visual impact from the external and internal areas.

3. Communication

The proposed architectural projects shall be able to:

  • Promote an open and innovative image of Enel and communicate the strategy and commitment of the Group within the energy transition framework, specifically through Enel’s vision of the networks of the future: sustainable, resilient, and participatory.
  • Communicate Enel's vision and commitment to Secondary Substations in transforming these important assets of the electricity grid into visible symbols of the change taking place within the energy sector and fostering their positive impact through a harmonious dialogue with the different environmental contexts.

It is possible to provide communication elements such as monitors, projectors, etc., positioned on the external surfaces of the architectures to transmit information related to the substation, corporate content, or content of public interest.

4. Sustainable materials and renewable energy

The use of sustainable materials in project proposals, both in Technical and Development Areas, as well as the inclusion of green energy sources integrated in the plant dedicated to internal uses, is required.

The materials and technologies proposed must, in every case, allow for immediate feasibility and be suitable for the sector and the context of application envisaged.

To avoid an excessive increase of temperature inside the buildings, solutions that are able to screen the buildings and to dissipate the internal heat during summer are required, for example through the choice of materials suitable for the purpose.

It is possible to foresee the recovery of rainwater from horizontal surfaces not subjected to possible contamination. The rainwater recovered can be reused inside the station area for ordinary maintenance operations or for the irrigation of green areas available to the public.

Designers must consider the criteria of the circular economy and sustainability as strategic design drivers for the development of the infrastructure according to ENVISION methodology (see annexed documents with the self-assessment table and ENVISION self-assessment manual).

Please apply the self-assessment ENVISION methodology to provide an estimated positive impact score (based on the ENVISION scoring system) for the proposed infrastructure in terms of sustainability as a whole (please see Annex C). This score must accompany the proposal.

5. E-mobility promotion

The inclusion of services in favor of e-mobility will be positively evaluated. In particular, a space used for the installation of a recharging system for electric vehicles (EVSE) may be provided (as a suggestion and not binding).

It will therefore be possible to clearly identify and reserve these spaces for the use of plug-in electric vehicles only.

6. Social inclusion

For the new sustainable design, the inclusion of services in favor of social inclusion will also be positively evaluated, such as activities to involve people and encourage positive behaviors aimed at fostering good social practices.

7. Lighting

It is possible to use natural light for the internal lighting of the architecture, avoiding the excessive increase of the temperature inside the buildings. In particular, in the warm season, there is a need to shield off the external heat, and dissipate internal heat for instance through proper choice of materials.



This Challenge contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all;
  • SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation;
  • SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable;
  • SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns;
  • SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Challenge rules

This Challenge is reserved to engineers, architects, designers, startups, scaleups and SMEs, industrials incorporated in any country, acting both as natural and/or legal persons.

Please note that:

  1. the employees of Enel Grids and of the other Companies of the Enel Group; and
  2. the individuals who are involved in the organization and management of the Challenge or admitted to the Open Innovability® Portal back office, as well as the spouses, partners, and relatives up to the fourth degree of the individuals listed under (1) and (2) above are not eligible for participation in this Challenge. It is the Applicant’s responsibility to verify with the members of his/her kinship or spouse or partners (or with regard to his/her team members or their kin, etc.) whether any of them is connected in any way to the Challenge or the Open Innovability® Portal and request (by e-mail to infogridchallenges@enel.com), if necessary, any additional information from Enel Grids to fulfill such obligation.

By applying to the Challenge, the Applicant shall represent and warrant that it is eligible to participate in the Challenge according to the provisions of the present CTC. Moreover, the Applicant shall represent and warrant that:

  1. all the information contained in the Proposal is true, accurate and complete and it will maintain and update the Applicant’s information to keep it true, accurate, current and complete;
  2. the Applicant has viewed and accepted the privacy policy of the Platform;
  3. The Applicant has not breached any laws in the country of residence regarding the legality of registration and participation in the Challenge;
  4. in the case of a natural person, he/she is at least 18 years old;
  5. in the case of a representative of a business or other entity, he/she is authorized to enter into this CTC on behalf of that business or entity;
  6. to the best of his/her knowledge, the Applicant is not in a position of conflict of interest with the subject matter of the Challenge or with any component of the evaluation team;
  7. the Proposal does not: (i) violate the rights - including, but not limited to, copyrights, trademark rights, patent rights, trade secrets or privacy rights - of any third party; (ii) prominently feature any trademarks or logos;
  8. the Applicant releases and undertakes to hold harmless Enel Grids and all the companies of the Enel Group from any and all liability or any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the Challenge and/or the implementation of the activities related to the Challenge.


Enel Grids reminds all Applicants that Enel Group has adopted and adheres to the principles set out in Enel’s Ethics Code (available at https://www.enel.com/content/dam/enel-com/documenti/investitori/governance/sistema-di-controllo-interno/codice-etico-enel_2021.pdf), the Zero Tolerance Plan against corruption (available at https://www.enel.com/content/dam/enel-com/documenti/investitori/governance/sistema-di-controllo-interno/piano-tolleranza-zero-corruzione.pdf), Enel’s Human Rights Policy (available at https://www.enel.com/content/dam/enel-com/documenti/investitori/sostenibilita/diritti-umani/human-rights-policy_december2021.pdf) , the Organizational Model pursuant to Legislative Decree 231/01, as subsequently amended and supplemented, (available at https://www.enel.com/content/dam/enel-com/documenti/investitori/governance/sistema-di-controllo-interno/modello-231.pdf).

The Applicant hereby agrees to conform to the same principles adopted by the Enel Group. The Applicant also acknowledges that the Enel Group has adopted the Enel Global Compliance Program, which was drafted taking into account the main international conventions against corruption (i.e., Bribery Act; Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, etc.) and which shall be adopted by all non-Italian subsidiaries of the Enel Group.

Enel Grids reserves the right to reject any proposal that does not comply with these Terms and Conditions. If the Challenge is won by an Applicant not meeting the cited requirements, the Applicant will lose the right to the award.



Proposals must be submitted exclusively online through the platform.

The Applicants are requested to submit their Proposals in English or Italian. Proposals submitted by any other means or in any other language will not be considered.

The Applicants are further requested to disclose whether they have participated with the same or substantially similar proposal in any other challenge promoted on the Open Innovability® Platform.

Proposals must be submitted in a single stage and must include the following sections:

1. A written description (only text, no images or drawings) on an A4 vertical document, containing the following content

1.1 Description of the design principles and elements of the proposed architectural solution with an explanation of how the Applicant proposes to address the requirements listed in the Challenge brief.

1.2 An overview of the materials and technologies of the design proposal.

1.3 An overview of the technical and economic feasibility of the design proposal.

1.4 The completed ENVISION scoring system table.

1.5 Description of how the Applicant proposes to address the sustainability requirements.

1.6 Confirmation of adherence to all the requirements or declaration of any requirement that has not been not respected.

2. For each of the 3 case-study sites:

2.1 3D visualizations (renderings) providing a walkthrough of the proposed architectural concept.

2.2 Technical drawings with all maximum dimensions, plans and elevations in dwg and pdf format.

Applicants can upload files up to 5 files, 35MB for each one. PDF, JPEG, ZIP formats supported.

Should the participant wish to submit more attachments, we suggest that they upload more than one solution for the same challenge. They should change the title of the proposal (e.g., new cabin, part 1; new cabin, part 2; etc.) by attaching different files for each upload.


Enel Grids will award:

  • to the Applicant selected as winner of the Challenge: an amount of 30,000 euros.
  • to the Applicants who will be selected for the conclusion of option award: an amount of 7,000 euros.



Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on November 15, 2022.

Late submissions will not be considered.

Specific regulations are in the CSA attached at the bottom of this page.


Regulation - New design for sustainable Enel Secondary Substation

PDF (0.18MB) Download

What happens next?

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions.

Enel will evaluate the proposal using the following criteria:

  1. Degree of innovation (design research)
  2. Appearance and communication quality
  3. Integration into the installation context
  4. Adoption of circular economy and sustainability principles
  5. Technical and normative compliance
  6. Replicability and modularity
  7. Economic and realization feasibility


In addition to the payment of the Awards, Enel reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to entrust the Winning Applicant with the artistic direction and executive design of one or more specific secondary substations.

Upon completion of the evaluation, you will receive feedback.

In case of success, an Enel contact person will get in touch with you to discuss the next steps.


Minibox (PDF)

PDF (0.09MB) Download

Minibox (DWG)

DWG (1.3MB) Download

Minibox (DXF)

DXF (7.17MB) Download


IFC (34.98MB) Download

Standardbox (PDF)

PDF (0.1MB) Download

Standardbox (DWG)

DWG (1.64MB) Download

Standardbox (DXF)

DXF (7.2MB) Download


IFC (71.94MB) Download

Microbox (PDF)

PDF (0.11MB) Download

Microbox (DWG)

DWG (1.3MB) Download

Microbox (DXF)

DXF (7.2MB) Download

ENEL I&N SOLUTION SC IT - Microboxplus

IFC (14.1MB) Download


PDF (0.26MB) Download

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