A newly completed winery, brewery and food-processing complex at the University of California, Davis, is set to begin operations as the most environmentally sophisticated complex of its kind in the world, one that promises to unravel scientific enigmas and solve practical problems related to foods, beverages and health.

The $20 million, 34,000-square-foot teaching-and-research complex is expected to be the first winery, brewery or food-processing facility to earn LEED Platinum certification, the highest environmental rating awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) It is intended to become self-sustainable in energy and water use after all of its features come online.

“This new complex showcases UC Davis’ commitment to environmental excellence,” said Chancellor Linda Katehi. “It embodies our vision to serve as a catalyst for sustainable economic development and social progress in California and beyond.”

Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, added, “The new facility raises the bar for environmental design and construction of laboratory and processing buildings within the University of California.

“It also will serve as a model for industries throughout the nation that are also committed both to environmental excellence and production efficiency,” he said.

The south wing of the new one-story complex is home to the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory, which includes, a brewery, general foods-processing plant and milk-processing laboratory. The complex’s north wing houses a new teaching-and-research winery. Construction was completed in July, and wine grape crush and brewing have begun at the complex, with some equipment yet to be purchased or moved in.

The complex was designed and built to be UC Davis’ second LEED Platinum building and only the third in the University of California system. The other two are UC Davis’ Tahoe Center for the Environmental Sciences in Incline Village, Nev., and UC Santa Barbara’s Bren Hall.

The new complex was funded entirely by private donations; no state or federal funds were used in its design or construction.

It was designed by a team of architects, engineers and builders including BNB Norcal of San Mateo, Flad Architects of San Francisco, F.M. Booth Mechanical, Red Top Electric, KPW Structural Engineers, Creegan + D’Angelo Civil Engineers and HLA Landscape Architects.

The complex is adjacent to a new 12-acre teaching-and-research vineyard and is located within the campus’s Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

The institute, which opened in 2008, comprises three academic buildings that house the Department of Food Science and Technology and the Department of Viticulture and Enology. (Design and construction of those academic buildings, which total 129,600 square feet, cost $73 million, paid for by a combination of state and private funds. The campus did not apply for LEED certification on the three academic buildings.)