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University of California at Davis Project

November 13, 2013 - 10:45am


Through an innovative public-private partnership between the University of California at Davis (UC Davis) and the West Village Community Partnership, LLC, the West Village neighborhood will create numerous opportunities for more than 3,000 faculty, staff, and students to live locally and participate in the life of the campus through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability measures. The U.S. Department of Energy provided $2.5 million in funding for this Community Renewable Energy Deployment project.

Students began moving into the community's Viridian and Ramble apartments in August 2011. Phase 2 of the Ramble Apartments opened in September 2012 and the Solstice Apartments are now under construction with opening in September 2013 when approximately 2,000 students will be living on site. As part of the mixed use development around the village square, the first floor of the six buildings includes approximately 42,500 square feet of commercial/retail space. Ultimately, West Village will include 343 single family homes for UC Davis faculty and staff. Construction of the first model homes is expected to start in 2013.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Measures

West Village is on track to meet the California Energy Commission's (CEC) Zero Net Energy Action Plan, which calls for shifting all new residential construction in California to zero net energy by 2020, and all new commercial construction by 2030.

To meet these aggressive energy goals, West Village will incorporate the following energy efficiency and sustainability measures:

  • Solar-reflective roofing, radiant barrier roof sheathing, and extra insulation
  • Energy-efficient exterior lighting fixtures, indoor occupancy sensors, and daylighting techniques
  • A biodigester based on technology developed at UC Davis, which will convert table scraps, animal, and plant waste from the campus into energy
  • Drought-friendly landscaping, water-saving toilets, recycled building materials, and low volatile organic compound paints
  • Sustainable transportation features, including a bike network and the student-run Unitrans bus service, which uses natural gas for power.

In addition, a portion of the commercial/retail space is the home of the UC Davis Energy Innovation Hub, a center for innovation in sustainability and energy-related research. UC Davis programs located there include:

  • Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center
  • Energy Efficiency Center
  • Program for International Energy Technologies
  • Institute of Transportation Studies
  • The Energy Institute
  • Urban Land Use and Transportation Center
  • Western Cooling Efficiency Center
  • Center for Water-Energy Efficiency.

Environmental and Economic Benefits

The aggressive energy efficiency measures discussed above include a requirement that each building in the village be built better than code. Planners project these measures will reduce the campus' energy use by about 10 million kilowatt-hours, or 50%, annually. Additional benefits include:

  • More than 300 jobs created
  • Rooftop photovoltaic installations over parking areas will meet the energy demands of the first 1,980 apartments and commercial spaces
  • Increase renewable energy supplies by 4 million kilowatt-hours
  • Creating a living laboratory that fosters interaction with the private sector on energy research.

What's more, in January 2012, Sacramento City College's Davis Center at UC Davis West Village opened, which is open to an estimated 2,400 students and is the first community college center housed on a UC campus.

Under the neighborhood master plan for UC Davis West Village, a future phase could include room for another 882 students and 132 single-family homes on acres. A timeline for this phase hasn't been set.

Learn more about the West Village project.

Learn about California's Renewable-Based Energy Secure Communities (RESCO) program funded by DOE and the CEC.