UC Davis has introduced the world’s most sustainable winery and brewery, meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
The new state-of-the-art teaching and research facility contains a brewery, winery, milk processing lab and a food-processing lab specially built for the departments housed there.
Dr. Roger Boulton, a professor in the department of viticulture and enology who was involved in setting up the new buildings, said the winery in particular is more advanced than any commercial winery.
“Most buildings are energy negative,” he said. “The winery is energy positive. We make more energy than we consume.”
The building conserves energy through many different aspects. It has high-efficiency solar lighting that turn off automatically when not in use, fans to minimize use of the air conditioning, insulation in the walls and tanks to collect rainwater from the roofs for use throughout the building and in the labs. Boulton is also trying to put solar panels in the winery.
The building may also eventually become a carbon neutral facility. In order to reduce the carbon footprint, the building captures carbon dioxide from the fermenting tanks and takes it outside.
The facility is designed to meet LEED standards in the platinum category and is currently awaiting certification. The 18 million dollar budget for the building, including costs for LEED certification, is completely privately funded with no campus or state money involved.
“It was funded by people that want us to do what we do,” said Boulton. “That’s exceptional, and the [economic] time at which it happened is exceptional.”
The building is only one of 150 new construction LEED platinum buildings in the country and one of 25 in California, the most recent of which is the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. It’s the second LEED platinum building in the UC system.
According to Boulton, the winery will have more uses of land water and more renewable energy than any other LEED platinum building in the country.
Julie Nola, the project manager and university representative overseeing the project, said construction started about a year ago. Nola was involved in selecting and administering the building’s design contract through a design competition.
“[We were looking for] innovative sustainable design that could relate to the program we were provided,” she said.
The classroom design in the new building offers a much more comfortable setting for the students to be more engaged and interested in what they’re doing said Linda Bisson, a viticulture and enology professor who used to teach in the old facility.
The old building strongly limited her in class design, Bisson said.
“It has been just wonderful having all the modern equipment,” she said. “[In the old building] we had to figure out how to do it in an inadequate environment. We would have to tell students ‘here’s what you would have seen 50 years ago.’ Now, in the state of the art winery, we have to tell them that out in the real world they won’t have this.”
AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.