The City of Davis and Ascent Environmental brought Frontier Energy in to consult on the proposed Nishi Gateway Innovation Center. We collaborated with the City of Davis, UC Davis, and the developer’s team to create a project description, strategic framework, and implementation plan for CEQA analysis. Our team focused on opportunities to make the project as energy efficient as possible in the construction and implementation phases. The draft framework included a synthesis of physical site design constraints and opportunities; goals, policies and key performance metrics to guide the planning process; and key assumptions to be used in technical studies and environmental impact analysis. Subsequent phases of the project will look at innovative planning and alternative financing strategies that may incentivize implementation.
West Village is the largest zero net energy community in the U.S. When all phases are complete, the project will include 663 apartments, 42,500 square feet of commercial space, a recreation center, study facilities, and up to 475 single family homes for faculty and staff at the University of California, Davis. Frontier Energy has been involved with many aspects of West Village, including monitoring services for a photovoltaic-thermal energy system that provides solar preheated water and solar-generated electricity to two of the 12 apartments in an apartment building. Our team coordinated with the builder and plumber to design and install the PVT system. We also developed the monitoring plan, installed sensors and monitoring equipment, and made sure the system worked. UC Davis monitors the system on an ongoing basis.
PG&E worked with Habitat for Humanity of San Joaquin County to build ZNE single family homes. The first house involved more time and attention on air sealing and insulating the building shell compared to traditional building practices. Costs, however, were offset by less lumber, ductwork, and the the size of the HVAC system. In the end, the home cost $3,000 less in materials and labor and will save the new homeowners money with greatly reduced utility costs. Our team is monitoring the performance of this house, and so far it’s looking good.
Now we’re working on behalf of the California Energy Commission to build two more Habitat for Humanity houses in the same neighborhood. One will be all electric (with PG&E) and the other will use mixed fuels (with SoCal Gas). The three houses will have with very different systems that will provide data to support affordable ZNE homes. Follow Frontier Energy on LinkedIn for progress updates about the homes.