San Diego Gas & Electric Energy Innovation Center / Architects Hanna Gabriel Wells

  • 12 Aug 2013
  • Cultural Selected Works
© John Durant

Architects: Architects Hanna Gabriel Wells
Location: 4760 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Diane Village Shopping Center, , CA 92117, USA
Architect In Charge: Matthew Wells
Design Team: Sean Chen, Kristin Shultz, Frank Sanchez
Consultants: Snipes Dye, Spurlock Poirier, Hope Engineering, Turpin & Rattan,
Contractor : Johnson & Jennings
Area: 25000.0 ft2
Year: 2011
Photographs: John Durant

© John Durant

From the architect. The Energy Innovation Center is a working showcase that demonstrates smart energy initiatives and green building practices, all housed in one unique setting. This 27,000 square foot LEED Platinum center offers visitors a venue for learning and exploring the latest in energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart grid and alternative fuel technologies.

© John Durant

The project’s location was strategically chosen by the utility to help stimulate economic development in the local community and to demonstrate the possibilities for renewing a near-forgotten building by bringing it back to life as a regional hub for emerging energy technology and sustainability. The project’s scope expands onto the site utilizing a grove of solar trees for demonstrating power generation, permeable paving surfaces and bioremediation landscape islands for storm water management, and a demonstration garden to compare traditional landscapes with alternative drought tolerant planting options.

© John Durant

Buried under decades of misguided renovations, the existing building has been stripped down to its bare form exposing a classic mid-century design with low-pitched roof, glass façade and open plan. By notching a courtyard with operable glass walls into one side of the building, interior program uses surrounding this new open-air garden space now have an outdoor connection providing daylight and ventilation. The white spray-on foam insulation rooftop is covered in arrays of photovoltaic and thermal solar panels which share space with a variety of ultra-efficient HVAC units.

© John Durant

Seminar rooms for training and instruction; a commercial demonstration kitchen where new energy efficient restaurant equipment can be tried-out and tested by professional chefs; a functioning “smart home” representing the latest in energy efficient residential appliances, LED and fluorescent lighting fixtures, water saving devices, HVAC equipment, in-home electric vehicle charging, solar power generation and energy storage systems; a courtyard break-out area with living wall feature demonstrating vertical garden systems utilizing self-feeding water saving technology; a sky lit administrative office area using repurposed furniture including demountable partitions; gallery space with interactive displays for lighting technologies; a lobby with lending library and interactive information kiosks.

Renovation Diagram

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "San Diego Gas & Electric Energy Innovation Center / Architects Hanna Gabriel Wells" 12 Aug 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>