The Eco-Industrial Park Concept:
An eco-industrial park is an environmentally friendly version of an industrial park, where a group of companies exchange and make use of by-products and/or energy – similar to the processes within a natural ecosystem. The eco-industrial park approach in Devens promotes organizations working together as a group to share and exchange resources and improve operating efficiencies, ultimately saving time and money while at the same time achieving the goal of sustainability.
“An eco-industrial park (EIP) is a type of industrial park in which businesses cooperate with each other and with the local community in an attempt to reduce waste, efficiently share resources (such as information, materials, water, energy, infrastructure, and natural resources), and produce sustainable development, with the intention of increasing economic gains and improving environmental quality.” (Wikipedia)
“The goal of an EIP is to improve the economic performance of the participating companies while minimizing their environmental impacts. Components of this approach include green design of park infrastructure and plants (new or retrofitted); cleaner production, pollution prevention; energy efficiency; and inter-company partnering. An EIP also seeks benefits for neighboring communities to assure that the net impact of its development is positive.”
Sustainability was defined in the 1994 Devens Re-Use Plan as “a balance of economic, social and environmental needs, while maintaining and enhancing the natural resource base”. In order to achieve a vision of sustainable development at Devens, a sustainability indicators project was developed. This project took the components of sustainability and applied indicators that would accurately reflect the presence or absence of those components – a way of measuring whether or not sustainability was being achieved. This exercise uncovered the need for a stronger effort to promote industrial ecology. Development of an eco-industrial park was a concept that would address both environmental protection and economic development.