Smart Communities Network banner

WelcomeContactSite IndexNewsletterEspanol

Sustainable Business

Key Principles

Industrial Ecology

Assistance Programs


Success Stories

Codes / Ordinances

Articles / Publications

Educational Materials

Other Resources

Eco-Industrial Parks 

Eco-industrial parks are emerging as the primary arena for testing and implementing industrial ecology. Similar in some respects to standard industrial parks, eco-industrial parks are designed to allow firms to share infrastructure as a strategy for enhancing production and minimizing costs.

The distinguishing feature of eco-industrial parks is their use of ecological design to foster collaboration among firms in managing environmental and energy issues. In an eco-industrial park setting, company production patterns, as well as overall park maintenance, work together to follow the principles of natural systems through cycling of resources, working within the constraints of local and global ecosystems, and optimizing energy use.

Eco-industrial parks offer firms the opportunity to cooperatively enhance both economic and environmental performance through increased efficiency, waste minimization, innovation and technology development, access to new markets, strategic planning, and attraction of financing and investment.

On-line Articles and Publications

Eco-Industrial Parks: A Case Study and Analyses of Economic, Environmental, Technical, and Regulatory Issues (Executive Summary in .pdf )

Fieldbook for the Development of Eco-Industrial Parks (Executive Summary in .pdf)

The Industrial Ecosystem Development Project Report
Reviews work done over the period June 1997 through May 1999 by the Triangle J Council of Governments in North Carolina. The report is divided into four sections. The first section summarizes the method used to obtain data, identify partnerships, and begin discussions between potential partners. The second section summarizes the data obtained. The third section describes the potential partnerships identified by the project. The fourth section addresses lessons learned and suggestions for others interested in undertaking industrial ecosystem development in their communities.

Guide to Financial Resources for EIP Development

Industrial Ecology in Motion (3): Eco-Industrial Parks

Making Industrial Parks Sustainable

Eco-Industrial Parks: One Strategy for Sustainable Growth
Provides an overview of Eco-industrial Parks (EIPs).

Eco-Industrial Parks Offer Sustainable Base Redevelopment
Outlines the opportunities presented by EIP models for military base conversion.


Eco-Industrial Parks: A Case Study and Analysis of Economic, Environmental, Technical, and Regulatory Issues, Research Triangle Institute, 1996.
A report exploring the economic and environmental feasibility of eco-industrial parks by constructing a simulation of a prototype in Brownsville, Texas. Available from: Research Triangle Institute, attn: RTI project # 6050, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709; phone (919) 541-5800; Fax (919) 541-6683

Eco-Industrial Parks: A Handbook for Local Development Teams, RPP International, 1998.
"Considers many strategies for community sustainable development as a context for industrial park development or renewal. It ranges from the soft infrastructure of policy, finance economic development, and education to the specific technical, recruitment, and management considerations in industrial park design."

Fieldbook for the Development of Eco-Industrial Parks, Research Triangle Institute, 1996.
A report providing guidelines for meeting the significant challenges to eco-industrial park development. Available from: Research Triangle Institute, attn: RTI project # 6050, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709; (919) 541-5800; Fax (919) 541-6683

Kalundborg, Denmark -- the World's First Eco-Industrial Park

An ancient harbor town with farms and fjords, Kalundborg, Denmark, proved to be fertile ground for the prototype eco-industrial park. A partnership evolving over the last 20 years between the Asnaes Power Company, a Novo Nordisk pharmaceutical plant, a Gyproc wallboard producer, and a Statoil refinery is the best example to date of industrial ecology in action.

Steam, gas, cooling water, and gypsum are circulated among the partners at Kalundborg. Excess heat is utilized for fish farming, heating of nearby homes, and greenhouse agriculture. Other by-products not usable within the park such as sulfur, fly ash, and sludge are sold to companies in the vicinity.

The development of the Kalundborg model was not driven by compliance to environmental regulations alone. The partners created the inter-firm arrangements for a variety of reasons: cheaper materials and energy, minimization of disposal costs, income generated from production residue, and greater environmental responsibility. This combination of motives clearly demonstrates an innovative and promising relationship between economic incentives and reduced environmental impact through industrial ecology.

The following on-line report was completed as a 1996 master's thesis by Nicholas Gertler at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Gertler's thesis provides an extensive case study of the Kalundborg Eco-Industrial Park and synthesizes research findings into a holistic model for industrial ecosystem development.

"Industrial Ecosystems: Developing Sustainable Industrial Structures"

Eco-Industrial Park Projects in U.S. Communities

Eco-Industrial Parks Offer Sustainable Base Redevelopment
Outlines the opportunities presented by EIP models for military base conversion.

Compendium of Eco-Industrial Projects
Provides links to over 25 EIP projects in the US and abroad.

Southside Central Business District Eco-Industrial Site -- Chattanooga, Tennessee

In 1985, Chattanooga initiated an exemplary economic, environmental, and social revitalization strategy called Vision 2000. Within this context, Chattanooga began exploring the potential of eco-industrial parks.

Chattanooga presently is developing four eco-industrial parks. One of the four, the South Central Business District site, was selected for participation in President's Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) Eco-Industrial Park project. The South Central Business District site is approximately 350 acres with abandoned and operating foundries, dilapidated and active commercial buildings, worker housing, and vacant lots.

Property owners, residents, and nationally-known experts cooperated to create a master plan for the South Central eco-industrial park. Major components of the plan include expansion of the Trade Center, a community stadium, a zero-emissions industrial facility, greenways, and incubator facilities.

Chattanooga's SMART Park project is in the feasibility stage. SMART ParkTM stands for a Sustainable Manufacturing, Agricultural, and Recycling Technology Park. The model includes existing industries, brownfield settings and greenfield sites. Contact:

Jim Freyerson
River Valley Partners
835 Georgia Avenue, Suite 800
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Phone: (423) 265-3700

Case Studies of 16 Eco-Industrial Parks in the U.S.
Case studies provided by Eco-Industrial Park representatives attending an Eco-Industrial Park Workshop at Cape Charles, Va., October 17-18, 1996, sponsored by the President's Council on Sustainable Development and the Port of Cape Charles Sustainable Technologies Industrial Park (an EIP).

Port of Cape Charles Sustainable Technologies Industrial Park--Port of Cape Charles, Virginia

Cape Charles is located on the southern tip of a peninsula between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, an area known as Virginia's Eastern Shore. Natural and cultural assets such as beaches, islands, marshes, woodlands, skilled citizens, historic villages and farms, and wildlife are abundant in the region.

While Cape Charles thrived economically in the past, poverty and unemployment have become common. As part of a broad economic revitalization effort, the Northhampton County Board of Supervisors and the Cape Charles Town Council signed in 1994 a joint memorandum to create the Port of Cape Charles Sustainable Technologies Industrial Park.

The following on-line reports provide detailed information on the Port of Cape Charles Sustainable Technologies Industrial Park development and progress to date:

Basic Facts including Mission, Corporate Commitment, Master Plan, and Funding

Project Partners

The Cape Charles Principles

Architectural Drawing of Sustainable Technologies Industrial Park

Tim Hayes, Project Director
Port of Cape Charles Sustainable Technologies Industrial Park
16404 Courthouse Rd.
P.O. Box 538
Eastville, VA 23347
Phone: (757) 331-8130
Fax: (757) 678-0483

Fairfield Eco-Industrial Park -- Baltimore, Maryland

The Fairfield area within Baltimore's Empowerment Zone is known for its poor environmental quality, particularly air quality. Residents suffer the highest cancer rates in Maryland -- a state with one of the highest cancer rates in the nation.

As a strategy for economic development and environmental improvement, Baltimore included the concept of an Eco-industrial park in its application for Empowerment Zone status. Development of the 20+ acre site is underway with project and city leaders working to attract new businesses to the area. For additional information, contact:

Larisa Salamacha South Team Leader
Mike Palumbo
Fairfield Ecological Industrial Park Site Manager
36 S. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 837-9305
Fax: (410) 837-6363

Brownsville Eco-Industrial Park -- Brownsville, Texas

The Brownsville Eco-Industrial Park Project is working to develop a physical site for companies to share facilities and infrastructure as well as a virtual component allowing industries in the Brownsville area to participate without relocating. Project sponsors include the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, Brownsville Economic Development Council, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Research Triangle Institute (RTI) assisted the Brownsville Economic Development Council in assessing the feasibility and potential economic and environmental benefits of an Eco-Industrial Park in Brownsville. An executive summary of the findings are available on-line in .pdf format at the RTI website. For additional information, contact:

Rick Luna, Communications Director
Brownsville Economic Development Council
1205 North Expressway
Brownsville, TX 78520
Phone: (210) 541-1183

Cabazon Resource Recovery Park -- Indio, California

The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians is a small, well organized, Federally recognized, and politically active indian tribe located in Mecca, California, approximately 80 miles west of Los Angeles.

As a part of a goal to improve the quality of life for its members and the surrounding community, the tribe is developing a 550 acre Resource Recovery Park. The development plans to attract an array of energy production, remediation, recycling, and light manufacturing facilities that work together using industrial ecology principles.

Existing facilities include a 48-megawatt cogeneration plant and a soils recycling facility. Under construction is an indoor pasteurization process to change biosolids from municipal wastewater treatment facilities into custom fertilizer products. Contact:

Michael Derry, Development Manager
Cabazon Resource Recovery Park
82-425 Indio Springs Drive
Indio, CA 92203-3499
Phone: (619) 342-2593, ext. 3015
Fax: (619) 342-2593

International Eco-Industrial Park Projects

Eco-Efficiency Centre in Burnside

The School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada explored ways for applying principles of industrial ecology to the Burnside Industrial Park in a project called "The Burnside Industrial Park as an Ecosystem."

The park is located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and contains over 1,200 businesses with a working population of over 18,000 employees.

The Eco-Efficiency Centre works to improve the efficiency of individuals companies on the one hand, while encouraging an ecosystemic perspective in the Park as a whole, by supporting cooperation between businesses where appropriate.

School for Resource and Environmental Studies
Faculty of Management
Dalhousie University
1312 Robie St.
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3E2
Phone: (902) 494-3632

Last updated: January 18, 2005

Back to Top