Project Info

Architects: Architects Hanna Gabriel Wells
Location: 4760 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Diane Village Shopping Center, San Diego, 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

living wall


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.

solar tree


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.

smart home training

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.

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.