UC Davis West Village is breaking ground by creating a model zero net energy community. To achieve this, UC Davis West Village is drawing on the nationally recognized expertise of UC Davis faculty and six campus research centers specializing in water, energy and cooling efficiencies; lighting technology; and biogas energy systems.
The infrastructure combines aggressive energy efficiency measures and on-site renewable energy generation to meet building energy demands. This holistic approach mitigates key barriers that have made it difficult to design and build sustainable large-scale communities.
The energy initiative collaboration has been evaluating alternative technological solutions and financial models to achieve the energy initiative’s goals. To date, the UC Davis and West Village Community Partners team has performed electrical demand studies, energy efficiency studies, utility infrastructure design, solar photovoltaic system design, financial analyses and regulatory research, with a goal of implementing a technologically and economically feasible model.
It is estimated that the community, if built to 2008 efficiency guidelines of Title 24 of the California Building Standards Code, would use 22 million kilowatts of electricity a year. With the full slate of energy efficiency measures, projected demand will come to about 11 million killowatt hours, a 50 percent reduction.
West Village Community Partners has contracted with SunPower to install a four-megawatt solar photovoltaic system to serve its student housing, mixed use buildings and recreation center and meet the zero net energy goal.
As West Village Community Partners prepares for the initial build-out of the faculty and staff housing, UC Davis will continue to leverage grant dollars to explore creative business and technological models for integrating multiple renewable resources to achieve the zero net energy goal.
UC Davis is now nearing completion of a technical feasibility study for using a biodigester, employing technology developed by UC Davis Professor Ruihong Zhang, to turn campus food, animal and plant waste into energy. The feed stock has been lab tested for the gas and energy it produces; live testing at the biodigester prototype on campus is expected be under way in late 2011.
Students, staff and faculty at the University of California, Davis, are helping pioneer the largest planned zero net energy community in the United States -- one that is an ambitious and yet realistic model for the country.
About 800 students, faculty and staff, in 315 apartments that opened in fall 2011, are bringing to life the new campus community of UC Davis West Village that will meet its own building energy needs by using aggressive energy efficiencies to reduce consumption and generating renewable energy on site.
Sustainable building practices
Every apartment building in the community is built with energy-conserving components including solar-reflective roofing, radiant barrier roof sheathing, high-efficiency light fixtures, and added insulation. Units are equipped with high-efficiency air conditioning systems and appliances.
Architectural elements -- such as roof overhangs and extensive use of sunshades over windows -- are designed to respond to the specific solar exposure of each building in the community.
The site maximizes the capture of the sun's energy and incorporates drought tolerant landscaping.