This paper documents the design, implementation and characterisation of a wireless sensor node (GENESI Node v1.0), applicable to long-term structural health monitoring. Presented is a three layer abstraction of the hardware platform; consisting of a Sensor Layer, a Main Layer and a Power Layer. Extended operational lifetime is one of the primary design goals, necessitating the inclusion of supplemental energy sources, energy awareness, and the implementation of optimal components (microcontroller(s), RF transceiver, etc.) to achieve lowest-possible power consumption, whilst ensuring that the functional requirements of the intended application area are satisfied. A novel Smart Power Unit has been developed; including intelligence, ambient available energy harvesting (EH), storage, electrochemical fuel cell integration, and recharging capability, which acts as the Power Layer for the node. The functional node has been prototyped, demonstrated and characterised in a variety of operational modes. It is demonstrable via simulation that, under normal operating conditions within a structural health monitoring application, the node may operate perpetually.