Money & Company

Tracking the market and economic trends
that shape your finances.

« Previous Post | Money & Company Home | Next Post »

UC Davis' 'zero net energy' West Village opens this weekend

October 14, 2011 | 12:16 pm

UC Davis West Village is set to officially open this weekend in what the campus administration claims will be the nation's largest so-called "zero net energy" community.

The "zero net" part means that West Village's goal is to consume only as much energy as it can generate.

UC Davis officials said that this would be accomplished by applying technologies including solar-reflective roofing, radiant barrier roof sheathing and extra insulation. Energy-efficient exterior lighting fixtures, indoor occupancy sensors and “daylighting” techniques are expected to require about 60% less energy than standard lighting.

A Web-based tool will allow energy monitoring by unit and a smartphone app will let residents turn off lamps and plugged-in electronics remotely. A four-megawatt photovoltaic system is expected to meet the energy needs of the first 1,980 apartment residents and commercial spaces.

“UC Davis West Village illustrates our commitment to cutting-edge research in sustainability and the value and impact of public-private partnerships,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. “The success of these partnerships demonstrates what can be achieved when innovations in design, science and engineering come together for the public good.”

West Village's initial $300 million phase includes 315 apartments, 42,500 square feet of commercial space, a recreation center and village square. Eventually, it's planned to include 3,000 people in 662 apartments and 343 single-family houses.

UC Davis officials said that the project is a collaboration between UC Davis and West Village Community Partnership, LLC, a joint venture of Carmel Partners of San Francisco and Urban Villages of Denver. The developer has a 65-year ground lease with the university for the project.

“UC Davis West Village is a visionary model for integrating pioneering sustainable principles with high-quality living environments, creating an eco-friendly lifestyle for students, faculty and staff,” said Nolan Zail, senior vice president of development at Carmel Partners.

UC Davis officials said that PG&E, Chevron Energy Solutions, Energy+Environmental Engineering and Davis Energy Group, together with UC Davis faculty and staff, played key roles in the zero net energy planning and feasibility studies.

In its Zero Net Energy Action Plan, released Sept. 1, 2010, the California Public Utilities Commission called for shifting all new residential construction in California to zero net energy by 2020, and all new commercial construction by 2030.

Also: Designs on energy efficiency

Seattle's green energy building

Value adjustments for energy improvements

--Ronald D. White

Photo: UC Davis' energy neutral West Village complex official opens this weekend. Photo credit: UC Davis.