California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently toured the under-construction UC Davis West Village student housing complex, claimed to be the largest zero net energy development in the country.

Zero Net Energy West Village

Debuting this fall, the 130-acre mixed-use community will feature housing for 2,000 students. Its SunPower solar system will provide 4 megawatts of power, which will support 100% of the development’s electricity needs. The system is comprised of both rooftop solar power installations and solar canopies over parking areas.

UC Davis West Village is the product of a public-private partnership between UC Davis and West Village Community Partnership, LLC, a joint venture led by San Francisco-based Carmel Partners and Urban Villages of Denver. The general contractor is Carmel Partners’ construction division, CP Construction West.

Other principals on the project include Lim Chang Rohling & Associates, Pasadena, architect-single-family homes; MVE Institutional, Oakland, architect-student apartments; Studio E Architects, San Diego, architect-mixed-use buildings; Cunningham Engineering, Sacramento, civil engineer; and SWA Group, San Francisco, landscape architect.

This first phase includes housing at the Ramble and Viridian apartment complexes, an education center for Los Rios Community College, recreation and study facilities and a village square surrounded by neighborhood-serving retail. In the next phase, 343 single family homes will be built for sale to faculty and staff.

In addition to SunPower, energy experts from PG&E, Chevron Energy Solutions and Davis Energy Group participated in the zero net energy planning and feasibility studies on the project. The project also draws on the expertise of UC Davis, particularly from its research centers that include the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center, Energy Institute, Center for Water-Energy Efficiency, Western Cooling Efficiency Center, California Lighting Technology Center and the Biogas Energy Project.