A combination of clever design and the latest sustainable technology has created a state-of-the-art winery in California and the first green building at any university to be certified Net Zero Energy under the Living Building Challenge.

The $4 million Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building will include systems for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide from wine fermentation and for filtering and recirculating water for wine, beer and food processing.

The 8,500 square foot development is part of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science complex at UC Davis, which has already set high standards for sustainability. The Teaching and Research Winery was the first winery in the world to receive LEED platinum certification, while the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory also became the first such facility to achieve LEED platinum certification.

“What you see in this building is the potential to achieve levels of sustainable operation never before seen in a commercial or research winery,” said David Block, chairman of the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology.

Created by the design-build team of Pankow Builders, Siegel & Strain Architects and Guttman & Blaevoet Engineering, the project has at its centre a series of 10 flexible modular spaces, which house equipment for a variety of processes.

“Because of the building’s flexible design, these and each of the other operating systems can be removed and updated as research advances become commercially available,” said professor Roger Boulton, a winery-engineering expert and the Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology at UCD. “This is intended to be a building that encourages the adoption of evolving technologies in the areas of energy, water, carbon and by-product streams, while at the same time operating the winery in a self-sustainable manner.”

Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building

Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building

A high-purity filtration and recirculation system will allow rainwater to be used in cleaning fermentors and barrels in the winery. An impressive 90 per cent of the water and chemistry from each cleaning cycle will then be captured, filtered through a semi-permeable membrane and reused in the next cleaning cycle. This can be done as many as 10 times.

A system for sequestering carbon dioxide captured from all fermentations in the winery will convert the emissions into calcium carbonate, or chalk, once the sequestration system is completed. The building also uses concrete blocks that permanently sequester – rather than emit – carbon dioxide.

A solar-powered ice-maker will enable the production of chilled water, while electrolysis will help generate hydrogen gas to power a fuel cell which has been installed for nighttime use.

In addition to more traditional passive design measures and the now commonplace use of roof photovoltaics, the building’s slab contains a tube system that will allow cold water to provide additional cooling in summer and hot water to provide heating in winter. Provisions for a pipework system in the below-ground rock bed could also provide additional thermal mass to offset heat released from the various installed systems.