Report: UC Davis West Village Sets the Standard

Share:

West-VillageBy UC Davis News Service

The University of California at Davis, West Village, the nation’s largest planned zero net energy community, racks up an impressive list of achievements in its initial year of review. The first formal analysis of West Village shows that, even in its initial phases, it is well on the way to the ultimate goal of operating as a ZNE community.

The report released today from UC Davis, and its partner West Village Community Partnership LLC, outlines major milestones including West Village producing 87 percent of the energy it consumed in a one-year period — well in advance of the project’s full completion.

“West Village is what a sustainable energy future looks like for California and the rest of the world,” said Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Program co-director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Its commitment to comprehensive evaluations like this one is an important part of the good example that the community is setting for the rest of us.” Cavanagh, a renowned authority on energy policy and conservation, is also vice chairman of California Clean Energy Fund and member of the National Commission on Energy Policy.

WVCP engaged energy consulting firm Davis Energy Group to evaluate the project’s energy consumption and production over a 12-month period from March 2012 to February 2013. The report also highlights the many “firsts” West Village can claim including Sacramento City College Davis Center, the first community college center built on a University of California campus.

The prototype University Hub, a new concept aimed at fostering better collaboration among research groups and accelerating the transfer of university inventions from the laboratory to the marketplace, also calls West Village home. The Energy and Transportation Hub located in the community now plays host to several research centers and creates a “living laboratory” to develop energy and transportation
technologies.

“This report is a summary of tremendous accomplishments and provides a roadmap to enhanced sustainability,” said Sid England, assistant vice chancellor for environmental stewardship and sustainability. “West Village is a grand experiment with ambitious goals and we look forward to working closely with our partners to reach the pinnacle of energy efficiency.”

While West Village continues to garner international recognition, most recently with the 2013 Urban Land Institute Global Award of Excellence, several other research investigations are under way at the site. The Honda House, a high-tech sustainable home filled with a smart-grid Honda Energy Management System, will demonstrate an innovative approach to meeting the state’s goal of requiring all new residential construction to be ZNE by 2020.

The second annual report, to be published in winter 2015, will highlight new and related advances including the opening of the Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester offsite at the former UC Davis
landfill, and the beginning of WVCP’s energy use and efficiency educational program for residents of West Village.

About West Village

West Village is a 200-acre community designed to house 3,000 UC Davis students and 500 staff and faculty in apartments and single-family homes. It officially opened in September 2011 with the first student apartment. With the recent opening of the Solstice Apartments in September 2013, West Village is currently home to 1,980 residents living in 663 units. Construction of single-family homes is expected to start in 2014, with the first models opening in the spring.

About the UC Davis West Village Public-Private Partnership

UC Davis West Village is a public-private partnership between UC Davis and West Village Community Partnership, a joint venture of Carmel Partners from San Francisco and Urban Villages from Denver. The West Village Energy Initiative is a team comprised of UC Davis and WVCP affiliates created to carry out principles and plans adopted for the project.

Sustainability at UC Davis

UC Davis has long served as a proving ground for innovations in environmental sustainability. Sierra Magazine named UC Davis the nation’s #1 Cool School in its 2012-13 ranking of the country’s greenest colleges. In 2011, UC Davis West Village opened its doors with a goal of becoming the nation’s largest zero net energy community. Aggressive recycling, composting and reuse efforts prevented nearly 75 percent of campus waste from entering landfills in 2012. Through its Climate Action Plan, the campus has reduced greenhouse gas emissions below 2000 levels and expects to return to 1990 levels by 2020. The campus also boasts more than 42 miles of bike paths and more than 20,000 bike racks, earning it platinum Bicycle Friendly University and Bicycle Friendly Business awards in 2013 from the League of American Bicyclists.

 

Share:

About The Author

Related posts

18 thoughts on “Report: UC Davis West Village Sets the Standard”

  1. medwoman

    I find it a little ironic that we are able to create an environmentally ground breaking community in West Village
    and yet are willing to settle for a pleasant, but not by any stretch of the imagination, innovative community in the Cannery project. If it were not “possible”, then West Village would not exist. What an opportunity lost !

  2. Jim Frame

    [quote] If it were not “possible”, then West Village would not exist.[/quote]

    I’d not be too quick to compare West Village with the Cannery. Much as I’m unexcited about the latter, it’s at least grounded in real-world budgeting. I’m not sure that pertains to West Village, which was built with tax dollars.

  3. Frankly

    First, West Village is ONLY serving students and faculty of the university. It addresses a targeted and transient population. I have lived in my current house and neighborhood for 25 years. There is a percentage of people looking for a place to call long-term home, and West Village does not cut it.

    And where will these 3500 residents shop, eat, bank, etc.?

    I takes all types of development to make a village.

  4. B. Nice

    “There is a percentage of people looking for a place to call long-term home, and West Village does not cut it. “

    That doesn’t mean the design, philosophy, technololgy, etc can’t be incorporated into new developments for people looking for long term homes.

  5. wesley506

    [quote]I’d not be too quick to compare West Village with the Cannery. Much as I’m unexcited about the latter, it’s at least grounded in real-world budgeting. [b]I’m not sure that pertains to West Village, which was built with tax dollars.[/b][/quote]

    Very little of West Village is beingbuilt with tax dollars. From the UCDavis West Village seb site…..

    [quoteThe development and implementation of UC Davis West Village is a collaboration between the university and a private developer, West Village Community Partnership LLC (WVCP), led by Carmel Partners of San Francisco with their joint venture partner Urban Villages of Denver.

    The campus retains ownership of the land and has entered into a ground lease with [b]WVCP, which will design, finance and construct Phase 1 of West Village, including development and management of rental housing and the construction and sales of the single family homes.[/b] WVCP and the campus share responsibility for leasing the retail space in the development.

    The total [b]Phase 1 cost is around $280 million, of which UC Davis invested approximately $17 million[/b] to bring utilities and infrastructure to the site. The university will recoup this investment through a surcharge placed on resident utility bills.][/quote]

    I think what we got with the Cannery is a typical suburban development which to me looks like any number of other central valley developments.

  6. Jim Frame

    [quote] UC Davis invested approximately $17 million to bring utilities and infrastructure to the site. The university will recoup this investment through a surcharge placed on resident utility bills.[/quote]

    It’s hard to tell from the press releases how much tax money is at risk. According to Sac Bee, public investment to date is $22M, but without reviewing the lease terms the risk could be much higher if the project isn’t successful. The apartment rents are so high that turnover is way above that of other complexes in the area, and there’s no telling what the for-sale unit absorption rate is going to be because there aren’t any available yet.

    To me it looks like a large-scale experiment with noble purpose but very uncertain outcome.

  7. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]There is a percentage of people looking for a place to call long-term home, and West Village does not cut it.

    And where will these 3500 residents shop, eat, bank, etc.?

    I takes all types of development to make a village.[/quote]

    I find this a very curious set of comments coming from you. Surely you were not thinking that I was advocating that every development be targeted to students. And surely you have read my posts, and were at least pretending to listen when we discussed my feeling that the Cannery is not an innovative community. What I find the most incongruent is that you seem to relentlessly espouse the idea that the private sector is always more innovative, efficient and cost effective, and yet here we have a project, at least partially publicly funded that is running circles around the Cannery in terms of innovation without regard to the specifically targeted population. If innovations can be made for students, surely innovations could be made in other projects as well.

  8. Don Shor

    A somewhat different perspective on West Village: [url]http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/02/5159639/west-village-complex-has-yet-to.html[/url]
    [quote]As of this week, the complex was charging $2,000 for a two-bedroom unit, while the Davis average is $1,307, according to a 2012 report by UC Davis Student Housing.
    For that price, student tenants get an amenity-rich complex, including a resort-style pool and a stunning clubhouse.

    Despite those luxuries, West Village has had a hard time keeping tenants, with about 50 percent of them declining to renew their leases in 2012, not including those who graduated.
    [/quote]
    All those extras cost money, and it’s reflected in the rents they charge. This is not affordable housing by any stretch.
    But as long as the rental market in Davis has a 1 – 2% vacancy rate, they’ll fill the place up.

  9. medwoman

    Don

    I completely agree with your assessment. And I completely agree with your position on the need for more affordable housing. One of my major problems with the Cannery is that it is neither affordable, nor innovative, nor conveniently placed. Pleasant, probably, but none of the above.

  10. Frankly

    [i]What I find the most incongruent is that you seem to relentlessly espouse the idea that the private sector is always more innovative, efficient and cost effective, and yet here we have a project, at least partially publicly funded that is running circles around the Cannery in terms of innovation without regard to the specifically targeted population.[/i]

    See Don’s comment for an example of how the public sector often misses the mark on marketability over pushing some environmental and social agenda.

    And that dovetails nicely into my point that you have to build residential and commercial designs that people actually want and will occupy.

    For example, you like high density residential development. But seniors are demanding single-story properties.

    The Cannery might not meet all your social and environmental nirvana goals, but I am guessing that it hits a sweet spot for what type of properties are in demand.

  11. Jim Frame

    [quote]The Cannery might not meet all your social and environmental nirvana goals, but I am guessing that it hits a sweet spot for what type of properties are in demand. [/quote]

    The question is, whose demand? If The Cannery meets the demand of people who already live in Davis but in housing that doesn’t match their needs well, or people who work in Davis but haven’t been able to find housing here that they can afford, then that’s good. But if merely meets the demand of people who don’t live here and don’t work here, then all it’s doing is adding more impacts without alleviating internal needs. The latter is what much of The Cannery looks like to me.

  12. medwoman

    Jim Frame

    “But if merely meets the demand of people who don’t live here and don’t work here, then all it’s doing is adding more impacts without alleviating internal needs. The latter is what much of The Cannery looks like to me. “

    Unless of course one of your stated goals is population growth specifically for its own sake in terms of filling our school capacity initially based on an over estimate of need or a different definition of “Nirvana” based on some never defined concept of “vibrancy”.

    I believe that what was missed here was an opportunity to showcase the innovations that are possible in close affiliation with our world class ag university. We are in a unique situation of having a premier location for shaping the experiences and thoughts of visiting scholars from around the world. Instead of choosing to build a true ag and conservation showcase of innovative design while housing real people with varying needs, we choose to settle for an automobile dependent community that would have been considered innovative around the time Village Homes was being built. It seems that there are those who are willing to accept the status quo as long as it is proposed by the public sector while loudly decrying government offered mediocrity.When outstanding is possible why should we accept complacency and pleasant status quo with window dressing
    In the name of short term, large company, private profit with ultimate costs to the city ?

  13. Frankly

    [i]When outstanding is possible why should we accept complacency and pleasant status quo [/i]

    I get your point. I feel the same way about the decision to go with complacency and select yet another ag easement at Mace 391 instead of taking an innovative approach to helping solve the city’s budget problems.

  14. Anonymous Pundit

    West Village fell short of its goals, yet is being praised as a success?
    The university claimed the project would provide 100% of its own energy, and it only generates 87%. That is a failure. More importantly, the actual goal should have been to provide affordable housing in an environment conducive to student learning. It appears the university failed on these counts as well. Despite having no land cost incorporated into the project, it provides some of the most expensive housing in town. It is on the wrong side of the highway. It is not integrated into the community or the university, and it does not stand as a community of its own.

  15. wesley506

    The demand for luxury student housing is a national trend that many universities including UCD are following. At UC Riverside, the year-old Camino del Sol complex on campus boasts a 24-hour fitness center, billiards, a hot tub, barbecues and a resort-style pool with a sun deck and cabanas. An article in the Houston Chronicle Real Estate section stated the following…..
    [quote]Upscale student housing projects are taking off in college towns nationwide, including College Station, as developers build complexes that look more like five-star resorts than traditional college living quarters.[/quote]
    New student housing at Texas A&M will including the following: [quote]Units include stainless steel appliances, furniture, quartz counter tops, hardwood-style floors and wall-mounted 42-inch flat screen televisions. The complex has a cabana lounge, a fitness center, a study lounge, a private club room, and a “serenity spa” with tanning beds and a steam room. It will also have CVS on the ground floor and has room for more stores.[/quote]

  16. B. Nice

    “I feel the same way about the decision to go with complacency and select yet another ag easement at Mace 391 instead of taking an innovative approach to helping solve the city’s budget problems.”

    Why not hold ConAgra to this same standard? I don’t understand thie sentiment I feel from some that we are asking too much, that we are being too demanding. Like we should be grateful for every “goodie” ConAgre is throwing our way.

  17. Frankly

    The marketing concept for the trend for upscale living quarters for students is to attract wealthier students by leveraging the tendency for their modern doting parents to live vicariously through them.

    Low income and budget-minded higher learning customers are really a drag.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for