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The Best Green Architects in San Diego, California

13 Min Read

Located along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, San Diego is California’s southernmost major metropolitan area. The city offers its residents diverse landscapes and stellar neighborhoods and many builders in the area also take great pride in following California’s best industry practices when it comes to green building and design. Its sustainable and eco-friendly homes also take inspiration from its beautiful geographic location and picturesque beaches. Our editorial team took the time to curate ten of the best architects in San Diego who specialize in green building and design. They were chosen based on their skill sets but also for their great portfolios and unique services.

Jonathan Segel Architect

3000 Upas St. #101, San Diego, CA 92104

Jonathan Segel Architect is an award-winning firm best known for its stellar and comprehensive services. It is led by its founder and namesake, Jonathan Segel, who is also a proud Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), which is the highest distinction the prestigious organization bestows upon its members. Under his leadership and supervision, the company has worked on over 300 responsible and environmentally sound designs. These include not only single-family homes but also various medium to high-density urban residential and mixed-use projects. Since the firm’s inception, it has won over 40 local, state, and national AIA awards for residential and Urban Design. This has enabled the company to be one of San Diego’s most successful and premier residential architectural companies. The firm has also been featured in a multitude of publications. Its work can best be showcased in the project above.

Project by Jonathan Segel Architect

Labeled in its portfolio as “The Cresta,” this home is a 5,300-square-foot house in La Jolla. It is a single-family residence made entirely out of cast-in-place concrete. For this home, the firm’s team had to work on three stories and installed numerous floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The pool offers unique thermal cooling.

IS Architecture

5645 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92037

Best known for its award-winning services, IS Architecture dedicates itself to the highest standards. Aside from its single-family homes, it is also well-respected for its great preservation and historical renovations that are environmentally friendly and site responsive. The firm has worked on several adaptive reuses of existing structures and is well-versed in San Diego’s building codes and regulations. The firm assists its clients throughout the entire building process and even works with them with some of the more tedious and nitty-gritty parts such as obtaining permits and conducting feasibility studies. The firm is the proud recipient of a multitude of awards, including the 2014 Best in American Living Platinum Award from the National Association of Home Builders, as well as several distinctions from San Diego Home/Garden.

Project by IS Architecture

IS Architecture believes building re-use is climate action. The inherent historic preservation process promoting the re-use of existing building stock in San Diego saves the carbon energy already expended in creating the original building. Additionally, thoughtful new material choices can save on the recurring carbon energy used operating the building into the future. IS Architecture works both locally, building by building, on carbon savings and internationally as part of the ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group

The masterful craftsman revival above best exemplifies the company’s skill and expertise. It is located in Mission Hills and won the firm numerous distinctions. Some of its best elements include its kitchen opening up seamlessly to its family room. The firm’s team also worked on several white-painted columns and flat casing to articulate the spaces. We also loved the company’s choice of earth tone color finishes, custom shaker cabinets, and the great deep-stained oak island in its kitchen.

BGI Architecture

2292 Faraday Ave. #100, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Having established a solid reputation for itself over the years, BGI Architecture has completed projects across California, Arizona, and Hawaii. The firm has been in business since 1985 and offers a full range of architectural services. The firm is led by John Beery, a professional architect with nearly four decades of experience. In 2008, he expanded the firm’s services to include commercial design services, which encompassed numerous tenant improvements in the Southern California area. The firm works closely with only the best contractors and creative professionals. As a result, the firm is capable of creating a wide range of designs, including the latest contemporary and modern themes and the most intricate European and Tuscan styles.

Project by BGI Architecture

Located in Rancho Santa Fe, the project above best showcases the firm’s skill and talent. It sits on the edge of an equestrian park and challenged the firm with the design of over 9,577 square feet of interior space. It primarily features a Spanish style, with some of its most striking elements including great patios reminiscent of haciendas and various excellent outdoor spaces. For its green elements, the company installed a suite of solar panels and smart electronic systems. The home is incredibly energy efficient as a result.

Domus Studio

2800 Third Ave., San Diego, CA 92103

Deriving its name from the Latin word for “house,” Domus Studio provides its clients with stellar and environmentally responsible architectural services. It has worked on numerous projects including religious structures, educational facilities, senior living facilities, and commercial spaces. It has garnered awards based on its great sustainable designs on LEED Silver, Gold, and Platinum-certified projects. The firm’s team achieves this success through the use of excellent local materials. The firm is known for its projects’ open floor plans and the use of natural light. The Domus process emphasizes the importance of client collaboration, as well as adherence to the latest building techniques. To ensure this, it maintains affiliations with organizations like the US Green Building Council. Since its establishment, the company has worked on over a hundred plus custom residential projects in La Jolla, San Diego, and Del Mar.

Project by Domus Studio

The project above was completed in San Diego. It utilizes a contemporary design and maximizes its small lot. Some of its features include an underground garage, great windows, and unique fixtures. The firm opted for a recurring theme of bold straight lines.

H2 Architects

726 9th Ave. Suite #1, San Diego, CA 92101

H2 Architects is an award-winning firm that operates out of two offices in San Diego and Gig Harbor, in Washington. It focuses on infusing various sustainability and green methods into its projects, assuring its homeowners of the high efficiency of its work. It has been in business since 1998 and is the brainchild of brothers David and Steven Hawkins. Under their supervision, the firm has also become known for its outstanding commercial, cultural, residential, and mixed-use architectural designs. The firm uses a highly client-focused approach and assists homeowners throughout the entire process. That includes site planning, programming, feasibility studies, master planning, and space planning. The firm’s work adheres to LEED standards.

Project by H2 Architects

The photo above is an excellent example of the firm’s work. Located in La Jolla, this home spans 3,500 square feet and won the company a Gold Nugget Award of Merit as “Best Custom Home.” It provides its owners with panoramic views of the shores and showcases an excellent courtyard plan and warm wood detailing. From the get-go, the company worked on various sustainability elements into this project including the site orientation, its great overhangs, and the deeply recessed plaster wall openings.

Hubbell & Hubbell Architects

1970 Sixth Ave., San Diego, CA 92101

Established in 1995, Hubbell & Hubbell Architects offers a complete and comprehensive range of architecture and planning services. It strives to provide sustainable solutions that it achieves through innovative techniques and methods. Headquartered in San Diego, the firm has also worked on the design and remodel of numerous public facilities including churches, parks, and nature centers. The firm uses only the best materials, and materials that are recyclable and environmentally friendly. With all this in mind, it comes as no surprise that the firm is the proud recipient of a multitude of industry awards and distinctions. Its work has also been recognized in various publications including San Diego Home & Garden Magazine and BUILD Magazine.

Project by Hubbell & Hubbell Architects

Burrowed in the quaint and inviting vineyards of Temecula, the project above best embodies the company’s talent and skill. For this home, the firm opted for a timeless Spanish style. It sits on over four acres and showcases panoramic views of the nearby Palomar Mountains. The design is notable for incorporating the client’s vision of having a green home that has enabled them to save quite a bit on their electric bills. The home’s strawbale provides great insulation qualities and Hubbell integrated other locally sourced natural building materials into this home.

JLC Architecture

337 South Cedros Ave. Suite J, Solana Beach, CA 92075

JLC Architecture offers a full range of services and uses a highly collaborative approach that emphasizes the importance of seamlessly incorporating clients’ needs and wants into the firm’s designs. The firm is also known for making use of innovative and creative solutions to otherwise challenging projects. JLC Architecture is led by its owner, Jean-Louis Coquereau, an experienced architect with an extensive background in the field. He comes from a family of architects and maintains affiliations with organizations such as the AIA and LEED. Under his leadership, the firm has become known for its transitional, traditional, and contemporary projects.

Project by JLC Architecture

The photo above best depicts the firm’s talent and expertise. Located in North Granados, it features a great open floor plan that seamlessly connects the interior to the outdoors. The home also features expansive multi-panel doors and a traditionally landscaped backyard. Its exteriors are made of smooth troweled stucco, charred cypress siding, exposed masonry, and glass. The firm also designed a pool and a spa.

Kristi Byers, AIA

2801 B St. #161, San Diego, CA 92102

Kristi Byers works out of its office in Southern California and is well-respected for its modern designs, site-appropriate responses, and its use of excellent materials. The firm’s portfolio showcases a diverse portfolio of project types which include not only single-family homes but also the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, international industrial parks, and LEED Platinum office buildings. The firm strives to protect the environment through various sustainability practices. At its helm is its principal, Kristi Byers, who personally oversees each of the company’s projects. She draws inspiration from over two decades of experience and has taken on various commercial, industrial, civic, university, K-12, mid and high-rise mixed-use, residential, and master planning projects all across Southern California and the United States. The photo above is a great example of the company’s expertise.

Project by Kristi Byers, AIA

This home was a multi-phased update of a mid-century project. It was completed for a young, growing family that sits in the South Park neighborhood. For this project, it opted for a modern mid-century aesthetic and reworked the master bathroom to bring in a rich amount of ambient light. It also replaced several exterior windows and doors. The firm’s work has been featured in publications like San Diego Daily Transcript and The San Diego Union-Tribune.

LUCE et studio

5070-a Santa Fe St., San Diego, CA 92109

LUCE et studio is a collaborative studio that believes in infusing art into architecture. The firm takes on projects regardless of size and scale and is well-known for its great master plans. It also provides custom furniture, which is greatly influenced by the firm’s various museums, corporate design, boutique hotels, civic institutions, colleges, and private residential commissions. Since its inception, the company has secured a solid list of excellent clients. In terms of design, it is particularly regarded for its modern and contemporary work.

Project by LUCE et studio

In the space above, the home opted for a modern design complemented with sleek finishes. It also opted for various minimalist touches, wood panels, and a recurring theme of straight lines. It also installed a large kitchen island and worked on an open floor plan.

Sanctuary Architects

7730 Herschel Ave. Suite O, La Jolla, CA 92037

With features in projects like San Diego Home/Garden and Dream Homes San Diego, Sanctuary Architects specializes in both commercial and modern architectural themes. It is led by its principal and founder Mark Lee Christopher, who holds a degree from the University of Michigan. He draws inspiration from over three decades of industry experience and founded the firm in 1987. Under his supervision, the company has also had the honor of winning a multitude of awards and distinctions. Its homes and spaces are best embodied in the photo above.

Project by Sanctuary Architects

Labeled in its portfolio as the “Woods Residence,” this home was first built in 1932 and was redesigned and laid out to accommodate a growing family. Its family and guest spaces were separate and distinct from its utility spaces and were arranged along a large C-shape. The firm also worked on various custom finishes and touches.