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University food and drink processing complex gains eco-certification

By Guy Montague-Jones , 04-Jan-2011

A new $20m facility at the University of California (UC) Davis has become the first winery, brewery and food-processing centre to receive LEED Platinum certification.

The Green Building Council awarded the LEED eco-certification, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, on account of its water and energy use features.

Test-bed

The new 34,000-square-foot centre has been built to serve as a test-bed for production processes and conservation techniques for both students and commercial suppliers. It includes a winery, a small brewery and other food processing facilities.

The designers hope that the building itself will inspire food and drinking processors.

Roger Boulton, a Professor of Enology and Chemical Engineering at UC Davis said the centre is an example for the global community and not just for California or wine companies. He said: “The technologies and environmental demonstrations have applications in all food and fermentation industries.”

The aim is for the centre to become carbon neutral from emission and energy generation within two years and eventually become "self sustainable" in water and energy.

Water and energy use

One of the main features of the building is how water is captured, stored and used. For the moment the water is re-used for landscaping and toilets, but UC Davis is raising funds to extend the system. An auxiliary building is to be completed to house the equipment to capture, store and recycle rainwater for processing water, which itself will be captured and reused up to 10 times.

Another of the important features of the facility is a new system for capturing carbon dioxide from all wine fermentations. A $1m assembly of 152 wireless grape fermentors will be used to remove the carbon dioxide released from the winery.

Funded entirely by private donations, the new complex was designed and built to be UC Davis’ second LEED Platinum building and only the third in the UC system.

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