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Davis, California

Sunday, March 3, 2024

New Tercero dorms utilize green technology

Future residents of the new Tercero residence halls will rest easy knowing they’ll be spending their nights in the most environmentally sustainable student housing units at UC Davis.

The new structures, Wall Hall, Campbell Hall and Potter Hall, are expected to open in fall 2010 and house 592 freshmen. The project, estimated to cost $33 million, utilizes an array of environmentally sustainable technology designed to maximize water efficiency, trap solar energy and divert construction waste from landfills, said Mike Sheehan, associate director of student housing at UCD.

The project is registered with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization that sets codes and standards for green buildings. The Tercero dorms will be LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – certified by the organization at the gold standard level. The ranking is a step up from the silver level required for new buildings by the UC system.

“[The LEED rating system] provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions,” according to the USGBC’s web page.

Saving money in the future by installing advanced technology now was the motivation behind advancing to the new standard, said Julianne Nola, the project manager for Tercero Phase II.

“We looked at systems that would give us a payback period of seven to 10 years when deciding which options to use in the project,” Nola said.

Some aspects of the green technology used in the dorms include a solar water pre-heat system, low flow toilets and shower heads and the installation of an outdoor ventilation system to bring in cool air during warmer months and minimize the use of air conditioners, Sheehan said.

“We’re doing some cool stuff with storm water,” he said. “Instead of running into Putah Creek, the water will be trapped on site and percolated in to the soil, going back into the natural water system.”

The project also uses pervious concrete, which allows storm water to seep through and enter the soil underneath. Additionally, much of the material used in construction, including the flooring and tiles, is made primarily of recycled materials. Seventy-five percent of the construction waste will be diverted from landfills, Sheehan said.

Teaching students about the features of their new home will be a primary component of the residence halls.

“We want to make it an educational building,” Sheehan said. “We’ll be talking to students and highlighting the sustainability of their surroundings.”

Tercero is not the only residence area embracing green technology. This summer, renovations will begin in the Segundo high-rise buildings and in Reagan Hall to install new ventilation systems as well as low flow water units. Additionally, Gallagher Hall, the Graduate School of Management building, meets the USGBC’s gold level standards.

The Teaching and Research Winery and August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory, set to open this summer, are built to LEED’s highest platinum standard, Nola said.

MEGAN MURPHY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


  1. That is all great but built at whose expense? This is truly upsetting!

    CA Labor Commissioner Issues $1.5 Million in Penalties to Davis Contractor (AT TERCERO) “Our investigation uncovered serious wage violations in this case,” said Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet. “We believe the employer intentionally underpaid its workers”



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