Most sustainable U.S. Community?

What may be the most sustainable community in the United States was launched on the campus of U.C. Davis in California.  West Village at U.C. Davis is a zero net energy community; meaning that all the energy needs of the community are met without having to rely on the electrical grid.  They accomplish this by energy efficiency measure in the apartments, retail space and homes (50% more energy efficient than building standards) and a 4 MW solar array!

West Village is the result of public (university system) and private developers.  The main residents of the community will be students and faculty of UC Davis.  Aside from using net zero energy, the fact that the community is on campus increases the sustainability factor, because residents won't have to drive to campus!, but hopefully the community will be a model of sustainable development.

Aside from energy efficiency and solar power production, the community enhances resident interaction and education by using the following techniques that we've mentioned many times on Mapawatt:

  • Energy Monitoring - meters measure the power output of the PV panels and (I'm assuming) visual displays help residents visualize the clean energy production.
  • Smartphone apps and web monitoring help residents reduce personal energy production (I'd love to learn more about this)
  • Residents can control individual outlets with a programmable energy management system.  This is like a product we covered: Computerized Electricity Systems.

One of the sustainable apartment buildings, Viridian, has the following conservation features:

Energy Reduction

  • High Performance Low-E Glass
  • Light-Colored Cool Roofs Reflect Sunlight and Minimize Heat Gain
  • High Efficacy Lighting Technology
  • Greenwave Power Management System
  • Upgraded Insulation and Radiant Barrier Roof Sheathing

Energy Production

  • Solar Panels Designed to Provide Annual Energy Load

Water Conservation

  •   Low-Flow Faucets
  •   Low-Flow Toilets
  •   Energy Star Dishwashers and Washing Machines
  •   Drought-tolerant and Native Plants
  •   Upgraded Insulation and Radiant Barrier Roof Sheathing

Water Retention

  •   Green Swales and Rain Gardens
  •   Landscaped Storm Water Retention Ponds

I hope we'll be seeing more and more communities like this.  With the recent cancellation of Google PowerMeter and Microsoft Hohm, I'm not so confident that the sustainable community revolution can be carried on the back of homeowners alone.  We'll need the help of government, public institutions, private developers, companies, educational resources, and homeowners.  West Village at U.C. Davis is a great example of how all aspects of sustainable living can come together!

enjoyed our post? let others know: 


Impressive list of Eco friendly features make this community an island unto itself with an environmental awareness level that is off the charts!
Georgia’s grass roots Regional Solar Market Transformation Initiative is positioned to lead the nation in the development of Smart Grid both in terms of demonstrated benefits of Smart Grid deployment and development, manufacturing and sale of the technology and systems that will make the Smart Grid a reality. We are proposing UGA/GA Tech-21st Century Telecom, Inc. HBCUs, and others form a public private partnership to create a 2013 Regional Solar Decathlon event and GA Tech Engineering School in Hahira, GA. It will be similar to other GA Tech-ATDC locations including STEM, ICAPP, and Quick Start programs at our proposed (Hahira) Lowndes County Zero Energy International Corporate Headquarters facility. We feel a South Georgia/North Florida 2013 Regional Solar Decathlon event would be the “ideal display area” for a “renewal energy, transportation, telecommunication, manufacturing and R&D renaissance” including OMVC, OnStar, Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Ford, Toyota and others. We have connected with Dr. Patrick Pinhero and Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi.

Post new comment

Subscribe to Comments for "Most sustainable U.S. Community?"