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World’s 'greenest' winery, brewery and foods facility opens on campus

October 5, 2010

Photo: A large room with metal tanks and lots of pipes

The new winery is designed to capture and sequester carbon dioxide from fermentations, eventually making the complex “net zero” in carbon dioxide emissions.

A newly completed winery, brewery and food-processing complex at the University of California, Davis, is set to begin operations as the most environmentally sophisticated complex of its kind in the world, one that promises to unravel scientific enigmas and solve practical problems related to foods, beverages and health.

The $20 million, 34,000-square-foot teaching-and-research complex is expected to be the first winery, brewery or food-processing facility to earn LEED Platinum certification, the highest environmental rating of the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) It is intended to become self-sustainable in energy and water use after all of its features come on line.

“This new complex showcases UC Davis’ commitment to environmental excellence,” said Chancellor Linda Katehi. “It embodies our vision to serve as a catalyst for sustainable economic development and social progress in California and beyond.”

Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, added, “The new facility raises the bar for environmental design and construction of laboratory and processing buildings within the University of California.

“It also will serve as a model for industries throughout the nation that are also committed both to environmental excellence and production efficiency,” he said.

The south wing of the new one-story complex is home to the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory, which includes, a brewery, general foods-processing plant and milk-processing laboratory. The complex’s north wing houses a new teaching-and-research winery. Construction was completed in July, and wine grape crush and brewing have begun at the complex, with some equipment yet to be purchased or moved in.

The complex was designed and built to be UC Davis’ second LEED Platinum building and only the third in the University of California system. The other two are UC Davis’ Tahoe Center for the Environmental Sciences in Incline Village, Nev., and UC Santa Barbara’s Bren Hall.

The new complex was funded entirely by private donations; no state or federal funds were used in its design or construction.

It was designed by a team of architects, engineers and builders including BNB Norcal of San Mateo, Flad Architects of San Francisco, F.M. Booth Mechanical, Red Top Electric, KPW Structural Engineers, Creegan + D’Angelo Civil Engineers and HLA Landscape Architects.

The complex is adjacent to a new 12-acre teaching-and-research vineyard and is located within the campus’s Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

The institute, which opened in 2008, comprises three academic buildings that house the Department of Food Science and Technology and the Department of Viticulture and Enology. (Design and construction of those academic buildings, which total 129,600 square feet, cost $73 million, paid for by a combination of state and private funds. The campus did not apply for LEED certification on the three academic buildings.)

LEED Platinum environmental design

The new winery, brewery and food-processing complex was designed to serve as a test bed for production processes and techniques that conserve water, energy and other vital resources.

Its environmentally friendly features include onsite solar power generation and a large-capacity system for capturing rainwater and conserving processing water. The stored rainwater will be used for landscaping and toilets, per LEED specifications.

UC Davis is raising funds to complete an auxiliary building to house equipment that will make it possible to capture, store and recycle rainwater, which will be used in an automated system to clean barrels, tanks and fermentors. The proposed system would reuse 90 percent of the captured rainwater volume.

“We want to demonstrate a self-sufficiency model that is applicable to any business with limited water,” said Roger Boulton, a winery-engineering expert and the Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology at UC Davis. He noted that plans call for eventually operating the facility independent of the main campus water line.

Additionally, the winery has been designed to capture carbon dioxide, a natural byproduct of fermentation, from a port in each of the new fermentors. An innovative process will be used to remove the carbon dioxide from the winery, reducing the building’s energy requirements for air quality and temperature control. Plans call for eventually capturing and storing the carbon dioxide produced by the winery, so that it will not contribute to global warming.

“The goal is for the facility to be not just carbon neutral, but carbon zero, in terms of its carbon emissions,” Boulton said.

Other environmentally responsible features include maximum use of natural light, rooftop photovoltaic cells to provide all of the facility’s power at peak load, new food-processing equipment that minimizes energy and water requirements, use of recycled glass in the flooring, interior paneling recycled from a 1928 wooden aqueduct, and use of lumber harvested from sustainably certified forest operations.

Read the full story on the UC Davis news site.

Update, Dec. 23, 2010: New winery, brewery and foods facility achieves LEED Platinum certification

Update, Jan. 28, 2011: UC Davis toasts new sustainable winery, brewery and foods complex

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