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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Act Now, Save Now: Drew Hubbell Shows Clients How to Take Green to the Bank

Mar 30, 2011 09:06PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Energy UpGrade California, a new statewide program that could get property owners excited about improving the energy efficiency of homes and buildings, may succeed in boosting the local economy by generating work for general contractors, architects, plumbers, electricians and architects, such as San Diego-based Hubbell & Hubbell Architects. Whether homeowners or commercial businesses plan to make valuable upgrades to buildings, save money on utility bills or reduce local greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, it appears that the program, which offers different incentives in California’s 58 counties, has something for everyone.

“We are encouraged to see that these lean economic times are encouraging people to take outside-the-box actions, like greening and beautifying their existing spaces,” says Drew Hubbell, founder of the architectural firm that has been in business for 15 years. “There is no better time to think in terms of how energy-efficient homes save money and natural resources, as well as how they reduce our environmental footprint,” notes Hubbell, whose concern for the environment and enthusiasm for building with natural materials stems from his childhood years. “I was lucky enough to have parents who were artists and environmentalists,” he says.

Heartened by his recent obserobservations, Hubbell notes that he has received calls from individuals looking to take advantage of current incentives and rebates to transform their existing homes into a “green” dream home. “They wanted to act now, while the California Energy Commission (CEC) has $12.9 million to spend towards energy upgrades,” advises Hubbell. The CEC, which has matching funds available for residential energy-efficient upgrades, is striving for a goal of 10 percent energy savings. To achieve this, they are focusing on home improvements like attic and hot water piping insulation, and duct testing and sealing.

With less new construction today, Hubbell is enthusiastic about channeling his firm’s building expertise into remodeling and upgrading existing structures. “We help our clients to identify rebates, to help pay for upgrades,” says Hubbell.

Over the years, Hubbell & Hubbell has gained experience in grid-tied and off-grid photovoltaic systems; solar hot water; historic building consulting; Title-24, California’s energy efficiency standards for residential and nonresidential buildings; Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED); and passive energy savings. The firm, which has a special interest in water conservation, develops holistic design solutions to effectively use limited resources, simplify systems to take advantage of passive techniques and use common materials in creative ways.

Hubbell’s clients that have embraced his creative solution to reduce energy costs with planted rooftops benefit from a source of thermal mass that helps maintain comfortable temperatures inside their buildings. “The rooftops also do a great job of providing habitat space, sequestering greenhouse gasses, improving local water quality by reducing and filtering storm water runoff, and cooling the surrounding community by reducing the urban heat island effect,” explains Hubbell, who emphasizes that a green roof can also be an enjoyable garden space.

Contact Drew Hubbell, Hubbell & Hubbell, 1970 Sixth Ave., San Diego 92101. Call 619-231-0446 or visit