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UC Davis Breaks Ground on New Sustainable Winery Facility

November 5, 2011 |

The University of California, Davis just broke ground on a new sustainable winery building aimed at conserving water, energy and other resources, university officials announced.

The 8,000-square-foot Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building, which cost $4 million, allows the adjacent winery, brewery and food-processing complex to become the world’s first self-sustainable, zero-carbon teaching and research facility, the university said.

The late Jess Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke, proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, pledged $3 million for the building project.  The facility is slated to be completed in 2013.

“This building will be used to explore new research areas, including ways to maximize water conservation in wine production and sequester carbon dioxide during fermentation,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. “With the technology that this building will house, we plan to produce wine with a net-zero carbon footprint and to develop models that are workable for the wine industry.”

The new building is set to be located on the south side of UC Davis’ one-year-old Teaching and Research Winery and August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Both the teaching and research winery and the brewery became the first of their kinds to receive LEED platinum certification, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest rating for environmental design and construction.

The new facility will feature 10 dedicated, modular spaces containing equipment for processes such as high-purity filtration of rainwater, which can be used for cleaning the winery’s fermenters and barrels. The complex can reuse up to 90 percent of the water and chemicals captured and processed from each winery cleaning cycle, according to the university.

The building will also have other self-sustaining features. It will sequester carbon dioxide captured from the winery’s fermentations and convert it into calcium carbonate, or chalk, which will be given to a plasterboard company. The building will produce chilled water using an icemaker powered by electricity generated from solar panels. It will also have the capability of generating hydrogen gas by electrolysis and producing nighttime energy using a hydrogen fuel cell.

One of the facility’s new rooms will house the control system and data hub, while two other rooms will be used for future research projects and equipment trials. Professor Roger Boulton, a winery engineering expert at the Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Center in Enology at UC Davis, said the building’s control and data system will monitor and display the water, energy, carbon and chemistry footprints in real time. It will also manage the operation of all utilities, as well as the building environment.

Banke said she is proud that the building will support research innovation in sustainable viticulture and winemaking.

“Our next generation of winemakers and environmental scientists will be better prepared to further the sustainability of our already green industry,” she said.

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