UC Davis West Village
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The Largest Zero-Net Energy Community in the United States

Location Davis, California, United States

Scope Planning, Landscape Architecture

Size 130 acres - 52.6 hectares


Zero-net energy dwellings at same cost as conventional housing

Met 87 percent of zero-net energy goals in the first year

Mixed-use development achieved with public-private partnership

Compact design for bike, pedestrian access to campus

UC Davis West Village is a new 225-acre development in Davis, California, that responds to a substantial growth in the number of students, faculty and staff living on the University’s campus. The city of Davis is a unique and cherished community, and great care was taken throughout the design and planning process to pay homage to its history and culture. The needs for the University include housing for approximately 3,000 students and 500 members of the University faculty and staff, as well as a mixed-use retail area, extensive parks and an open space network. SWA’s concept focuses on three key principals: housing affordability, quality of place, and environmental responsiveness. As a result, the Village is the largest planned zero-net energy community in the United States, combining compact walkable neighborhoods with sustainable initiatives such as an extensive bike network, permeable paving, solar thermal collectors, storm water management and conservation, and comprehensive tree shading. The community has achieved an exceptional 87% of initial ZNE goals in the first year. SWA’s design aesthetic focuses on integrating these initiatives in an authentically local manner, employing systems that work best with the local environmental condition. This balance between goals of sustainability and local cultural authenticity propels the project towards a cohesive network of program, circulation and outdoor spaces to serve the community. The project ultimately incorporates affordable housing in a neighborhood setting, while strengthening on-campus involvement, and creates a distinctive place to live in a pedestrian-oriented and bike-friendly environment.

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