By Monica Unhold / The Daily Transcript / August 11, 2009
An Ocean Beach architecture firm’s new offices will be the first commercial building in San Diego County to qualify as net zero — meaning it generates as much energy as it consumes.
Architects Hanna Gabriel Wells converted the 54-year-old Ocean Beach Auto Repair shop into a modern office building expected to enjoy no monthly energy costs, said Jim Gabriel, principal at Architects Hanna Gabriel Wells.
The firm has called Ocean Beach home for the past 12 years and jumped at the chance of ownership when the auto repair property became available. The location at 1955 Bacon Ave. is ideal; situated near to the small beach community’s shops and restaurants, and just one block from the beach, Gabriel said.
In converting the building, architects added modern details while keeping 90 percent of the original building intact. Still visible are the steel beams used by mechanics for lifting engines, cinder block walls and polished concrete floors.
“The big auto repair bays they use for automotive work are actually perfect for what we do because we need a lot of space too,” Gabriel said.
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