The Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (HGEC) is a 3,600 sf, $3.4 million facility situated on the south coast of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The new building serves both the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii and the Hawaii Ocean Sciences and Technology Park. And as you may be able to gather from the images and models below, HGEC is a fascinating display of the future potential for synergies of solar power and building efficiencies. The entire building is designed as a thermal chimney that captures heat and creates air movement using the structural form and thermodynamic principles. Also, with the help of glazing, the building orientation and design pretty much eliminates the need for electric lighting during the day. Notably, HGEC consumes about 20% of the energy that’s required by a comparable building.
HGEC is a well-designed, efficient building without the solar panels, but with the 20-kilowatt solar array, which just so happens to be the most prominent feature of the building, the building produces all its own energy on-site. The 20-kw solar array generates roughly 24,455 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
HGEC was designed by Ferraro Choi and has received the highest designation from the USGBC, LEED Platinum certification. Also, the project was honored with the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award for 2007. Well deserved honors, I say.