Hawaii Gateway Energy Center / Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA)

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Architecture/Sustainable Design:
Ferraro Choi And Associates Ltd.
WSP Lincolne Scott
Structural Engineer:
Libbey Heywood, Inc.
Landscape Architect:
LP&D Hawaii
Commissioning Agent :
Environmental Economics, Inc.
Bolton, Inc.
David Franzen

The NELHA Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (HGEC) is a sustainable, zero-net energy multi-use facility that engages in various distributed and renewable energy research, generation, development, demonstration, education, and outreach activities. NELHA is the acronym for Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, the State agency that operates the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii and harvests cold, deep seawater from depths of up to 3,000 feet below sea level.

Completed in 2004, Phase 1 of the HGEC project is a visitor center of approximately 3,500 square feet, which houses administration, exhibition, retail, conference, auditorium, and support spaces, and also features a covered central multi-use gathering deck of approximately 2,400 square feet. Phase 2 of the Gateway campus will be a research laboratory complex of approximately 22,000 square feet. The research complex is planned to support hydrogen fuel cell and other sustainable energy technology research.

The Hawaii Gateway Energy Center has been recognized locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally for its exemplary sustainable and green design strategies. Awards include:


  • 2005 AIA Honolulu AIA Award of Excellence for Sustainable Design
  • 2006 Northwest & Pacific Region of the AIA Citation Award
  • 2006 LEED® -NC v2 Platinum (New Construction) Certification by the United States Green Building Council (one of only 81 projects worldwide and the only project in the State of Hawaii to have achieved such status)
  • 2007 AIA National Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Green Projects
  • Distributed Energy Facility
  • Zero-Net Energy Facility (produces more energy than it consumes)
  • Photovoltaic Energy Production
  • Deep Seawater for Space Cooling
  • Deep Seawater for Condensation Irrigation
  • Deep Seawater for Fresh Water Production
  • Daylighting Design
  • Shading Design for Glazing
  • Envelope Insulated Against Heat Gain
  • Energy Efficient Building Orientation
  • Energy Efficient Building Configuration
  • Solar Chimney For Induced Ventilation
  • Septic System On-Site
  • Greywater Use On-Site
  • 100% Outside Air Ventilation
  • Native Landscaping
  • Porous Paving Systems
  • Recycled Materials
  • Locally Produced Construction Materials
  • Systems Commissioning
  • LEED® Recognized Strategies