Zero Net Energy Projects 2019

Energy demands in developed economies continue to dominate the world energy requirements. This trend of increasing energy use, which depends heavily on fossil fuels, is expected to continue to rise as other economies continue to develop. Through the project-based, hands-on Path to Zero Net Energy course, PIET addresses energy efficiency, renewable energy issues in the stationary and transportation sectors in the particular context of UC Davis campus and medical center, the former: a model of a small city with complete infrastructure; the latter: an energy-intensive hospital and research facility.

Recent Path to Zero Net Energy projects are described below. Please refer to the library for earlier projects.

Projects of Spring 2019:

  • Harvesting Daylight with the Energy Conservation Office

When implemented correctly, daylight harvesting can save a significant amount of energy by reducing the need for artificial lighting. This project seeks to determine the potential savings associated with daylight harvesting on the UC Davis campus. After measuring illuminance data in Meyer Hall, a model was created to estimate the savings from implementing a daylight harvesting system. The model showed that for large rooms, energy savings can be as much as $33/year while small room may only save $3/year as a results of daylight harvesting. In addition, a test run was completed with the existing daylighting system, which was found to not be functioning correctly.
Project Report  Project Poster

  • Growth Chamber Efficiency at the Controlled Environment Facility

The UC Davis Controlled Environment Facility (CEF) currently houses 165 growth chambers to support plant research. The chambers use High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps and Fluorescent lamps that consume large amounts of electricity and also pose disposal issues due to mercury. To decrease energy usage and lifecycle impact, LED technology was investigated as an option to replace the current lights. A payback period of 15 years was shown for both lamp type recommendations.

Project Report  Project Poster

  • Hop Kiln Energy Sourcing with Rühstaller Brewery

Out of nearly 1000 breweries in California, Rühstaller Beer is the only one that brews with home-grown hops. This means that while most breweries purchase their hops already processed, Rühstaller grows, harvests, and dries their hops onsite. Optimal quality is obtained when the hops are kiln dried at 120°F with constant air flow. Traditionally, these kilns have been heated by propane, but with abundant sunshine, wind, and agricultural waste available at the processing facility, a renewable source could be viable. Of these, a solar thermal pre-heating system was identified as the best fit.

Project Report  Project Poster

  • Innovation Hub with Facilities Management

With over 60,000 occupants, 1000+ buildings, and self-operated utility infrastructure, the UC Davis campus serves as a good proxy to a small city. The campus community uses this small city to test and showcase new innovations every day, but these endeavors are not compiled to form a cohesive story, nor are they easily accessible to those unfamiliar with the campus’ organizational structure. This project uses the results of a survey to guide the development of a solution for showcasing city-scale research to public entities. It proposes a central web-based platform as well as the development of a self-guided walking tour and a themed room with interactive displays.

Project Report  Project Poster

  • Lighting Retrofit with UC Davis Fleet Services

This project investigates an energy efficient lighting upgrade for the UC Davis Fleet Services facility, which consists of office and maintenance garage work spaces that are used to manage the vehicle fleets at UC Davis. The building’s current lighting system is inadequate, outdated, and failing. This project investigated a replacement system by quantifying existing light levels and comparing them to designs obtained from multiple vendors. These designs were evaluated based on energy savings, overall lighting performance, payback time, and durability to provide a final recommendation.

Project Report  Project Poster

  • Renewable Energy Design at the McLaughlin Reserve

The Donald and Sylvia McLaughlin Natural Reserve protects 7,000 acres of unusual habitats near Lower Lake, California. Though the reserve’s two main buildings experience only sporadic use, they are responsible for over $2,000 per month in electricity charges. The high rates experienced by the reserve coupled with large portions of open land available for development make on-site solar generation an attractive way to offset the reserve’s high electricity bill. This project compared between different photovoltaic designs to provide a final recommendation by considering layout, payback period, lifecycle carbon, lifecycle energy, and potential project funding methods.

Project Report  Project Poster

  • Small Building HVAC Design with the Energy Conservation Office

The goal of this project was to work with the Energy Conservation Office to identify a small building on the University of California Davis campus most suitable for a state-of-the-art Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) unit. A full HVAC retrofit was assessed using the HRV unit for ventilation and a split heat pump system for heating and cooling. A retrofit design was made for three buildings while considering existing infrastructure, usage, and safety requirements. Cost, energy savings, and payback time were estimated and used to identify the best candidate for the HRV unit.

Project Report  Project Poster

  • Sustainable Master Plan at the Rühstaller Brewery

Rühstaller Beer recently purchased a 5-acre property in Dixon, CA which will be developed into a full-scale brewery, hops processing facility, and tasting room. Rühstaller is interested in making the facility independently self-sustaining by utilizing all available resources on-site including energy, water, and waste. This project analyzes the energy needs of a brewery and identifies viable technologies, processes, and practices that can be employed as in the new facility.

Project Report  Project Poster