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 and lighting technology.

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 large-scale sustainable communities.

The energy initiative collaboration had evaluated alternative technological solutions and financial models to achieve the energy initiative’s goals. The UC Davis and West Village Community Partners team 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 was estimated that the community, built to 2008 efficiency guidelines of Title 24 of the California Building Standards Code, would use 22 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. With the full slate of energy efficiency measures, projected demand was estimated to be about 11 million killowatt-hours, a 50 percent reduction.

West Village Community Partners 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 prepared for the initial build-out of the faculty and staff housing, UC Davis leveraged grant dollars to explore creative business and technological models for integrating multiple renewable resources to achieve the zero net energy goal.

Students, staff and faculty at the University of California, Davis, helped 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 1980 students, faculty and staff, in 663 apartments, 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.

From the very start, sustainable principles have been the foundation of UC Davis West Village’s design and construction. Energy experts at UC Davis have been key advisors, helping identify the best cutting-edge technology and practices to make UC Davis West Village buildings use as little energy as possible.

UC Davis West Village tracks its progress toward zero net energy