Industrial park merges economics, ecology

New Hampshire development a privately-funded pioneer

March 01, 2002 |

The developer of the 100-acre Londonderry(N.H.) Eco-Industrial Park says it is the first such privately funded park in the United States. Similar developments have state funding, but Justin Bielagus, development coordinator for Sustainable Design & Development (SDD), Bedford, N.H., knows of no others that are privately financed.

The park’s prime tenant is a $320 million, 720 MW AES Corp. cogeneration plant that will begin operating this summer. Illustrating the concept that the waste stream of one company or industry can be reused, byproducts of the plant will include both high pressure steam and hot water that can be used by other tenants in the park.

The financing and development of the Londonderry park are similar to that for a conventional industrial park, except that park tenants are subjected to “a fairly rigorous evaluation process” before they are approved, Bielagus says.

The term “ecolgical” may produce a defensive reaction, Bielagus notes. “We use the term “eco” and explain that it has a dual meaning &m> ecology and economics. We ask companies to rethink each step of the development process, from how they’re going to site the building, to how the building will be configured, and what construction materials they plan to use &m> down to how the building will be operated.”

Options reviewed

SDD works with park tenants to identify methods or technologies that will minimize a building’s impact on the environment at a cost no greater than a building developed under a typical planning process. A life-cycle cost analysis identifies features with a higher initial cost that will provide a payback within a few years.

Such options need to be reassessed for each project to evaluate the impact of new technologies or the introduction of products with a high recycled content, Bielagus says. Changes in the cost of materials are also reviewed. For example, bathroom privacy panels made of recycled plastic were used on an earlier project, but recycled steel was determined to be the most cost effective material for a current project.

SDD recommends the use of fluorescent, rather than metal halide, lighting for warehouses. Bielagus says that while a fluorescent system is more expensive, lights can be turned on by sensors on a fork lift only when illumination is needed in a particular area.

Site-related guidelines include locating major paved areas and buildings to the East and South to minimize the use of snow-melting chemicals in the winter and the use

of rainwater stored on site for irrigation.

A 75,000-sq.-ft. warehouse/distribution facility for a medical supply company is the park’s first completed building. Still under construction is an 80,000-sq.-ft. office/distribution facility for a German hydronic systems manufacturer.

Water from a nearby municipal wastewater treatment plant will provide the 5 million gallons of water per day that the cogeneration plant requires for cooling. The water will then be returned to the treatment plant before being discharged into the Merrimack River. Because 4 million gallons per day will be evaporated as it passes through the cogeneration plant, the amount of treated water eventually returned to the river will be reduced by that amount.

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