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    Live in A Positive Community

    May 30, 2018

    We live in the era of environmental consciousness. Climate change can no longer be ignored, and it has become our responsibility to protect the one and only planet we have. The way we harness and use energy ultimately influences the outcome of our future, and life of future generations. That is why the UC Davis West Village was built with energy conservation, sustainable design, a goal of Zero Net Energy in mind. We have taken every available opportunity to drastically reduce our carbon footprint, while offering residents a unique and fun lifestyle while attending our school. The idea was, and is, to create a resort that both humans and mother nature can benefit from for years to come. Let’s take a more in-depth look into UC Davis Housing.

    A Better World, A Better Life

    It takes an extra effort to create an environmentally-friendly complex, but that effort multiplies the reward tenfold. The effects can be seen in both the surrounding ecosystem as well in our own lives. The simplest change we’ve made was to reduce the dependency on automobiles for transportation, making the entire community bicycle-friendly. Residents can easily ride their bikes to any destination within the complex, and enjoy the health benefits that come with the lifestyle. Passive environmental design such as cool roofing significantly reduces impact on the surrounding ecosystem as well as improves the air quality for those living here. Solar panels create a renewable source of electricity that, in turn, creates a reduced energy load. Our structures exceed current building standards by 50%! The most astounding accomplishment is achieving our goal of Zero Net Energy with our on-site renewable energy source. A goal soon to come to future buildings in California.

    Z.N.E.

    So, what exactly is Zero Net Energy? It's the combination of measures taken towards energy efficiency combined with on-site renewable energy via a generator. This allows for the complex to produce the amount of energy it consumes, or more simply sustain itself energy-wise. While this design has been implemented previously, the West Village at UC Davis is the largest in the United States and the first of its kind to create sustainable energy on such a large scale. With the California Public Utilities Commission calling for all new residential construction to meet the ZNE standard by 2020, and commercial structures by 2030, UC Davis is already one huge step ahead. In the future, we will even be able to progress to Positive Net Energy!

    What Can You Expect?

    Aside from seeing cyclers throughout the community, residents will witness an environmentally conscious community. First of all, we recycle. That means paper, plastic, aluminum, carboard, and glass. Secondly, we make an effort to unplug energy “vampires”. Game systems, cell phone chargers, and other electronic devices drain a significant amount of energy while plugged in even when not in use. That tiny effort for just one Xbox or PlayStation can save an average of 223 kWh each year. Imagine the effect of every student unplugging the items they aren’t using over the course of a month, a year, a decade!

    The average American produces 40,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions by using fossil fuels each year. UC Davis and its residents make the extra effort to drastically reduce that number. CFL bulbs for task lighting save energy in every light, while smart thermostats reduce consumption when a room is not in use. We take advantage of natural lighting whenever possible, and use sensors for the artificial lights that we require. Every kitchen is packed with nothing but Energy Star Rated appliances, and we heat our water with solar thermal systems. Instead of bringing their own printers, residents use our lab to print their documents, saving energy as well as money. They use power management features on their computers, use full loads and cold water when doing laundry, use a drying rack instead of a machine dryer when possible, and only use the elevator when they have to.

    Working together as a team, we can all do our part to conserve resources while still making good use of the things we need in our everyday lives.

    A Quick Look at the Impact

    We have completed 110 projects in more than 65 buildings so far, with more improvements on the way. Those have included exterior and interior lighting changes, personal computer power management, chilled water systems, well pump systems, and more. Through these upgrades, we have managed to save an average of 52.4 million kilowatt hours, and 3.8 million therms in gas each year. With the help of our residents, we save even more energy! That’s something to be proud of.

    UC Davis Housing

    It’s 2017, and climate change can no longer be ignored. The evidence and facts are all there, we as humans are destroying not only our planet but our own health as well. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Changes can be, and are being, made in an effort to move away from fossil fuel dependency so we may reduce our carbon dioxide emissions. Through water conservation, eco-friendly appliances, adaptive lighting, and changing our own habits we can all work together to make a change. The UC Davis West Village does its part to decrease our carbon footprint with passive environmental designs, and by building sustainable structures that maintain the ideal Zero Net Energy.

    This is the first time in history that you can earn a degree to better your future, and make an environmental impact to better the future of our planet at the same time. We welcome you to become a part of our community, and have an active role in our mission to create a better world. Come see why our residents enjoy this unique lifestyle, and the benefits to their health and education that come with it. Together, we can make a difference by setting the example for other Universities, businesses, and residential buildings as they make positive changes to their structures in the years to come.