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Largest Zero Net Energy Project in U.S. at UC Davis

Zero net energy buildings are those that consume zero fossil fuels and generate as much energy as they consume. The University of California Davis is ...

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|May 20|magazine14 min read

 

Zero net energy buildings are those that consume zero fossil fuels and generate as much energy as they consume.  The University of California Davis is currently constructing what will be the United States’ largest zero net development project.  The facility will provide housing to students and will welcome its first residents in September 2011.

The development—dubbed the “UC Davis West Village”—was created through an innovative public-private partnership between the university and West Village Community Partnership, LLC, a joint venture between Carmel Partners of San Francisco and Urban Villages of Denver.

The West Village will feature a 4 MW SunPower solar system that will generate 100 percent of the community’s energy needs.  The solar system will offset 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, or the equivalent of removing 9,000 cars from the roads over the system’s 25-year lifespan.

 

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To improve efficiency, the development project is also extremely energy efficient.  Features include: solar reflective roofing; high efficiency light fixtures; exterior walls with added insulation; high efficiency appliances; and optimized air conditioning. 

The 130 acre project is being developed in phases, with the first phase accommodating 2,000 students.   The community also features an education center for the Los Rios Community College, recreation and study facilities, a village square surrounded by retail stores, and 343 single family homes for sale to faculty and staff.

“West Village is a paradigm shift in creating both a great place to live and a model Zero Net Energy community,” said Nolan Zail, senior vice president for Carmel Partners. “Using aggressive energy efficiency measures and on-site renewable energy generation to meet community energy demand, this holistic approach offers new solutions in the design and construction of large-scale sustainable communities.”