Welcome To The Future: Building An Eco-Friendly Business Park
Business parks are among some of the largest developments undertaken by municipalities and property development companies. Few business parks ever make it beyond the early planning stage without the consent and input of a huge number of stakeholders, often making these projects an amalgamation of ideas intended to fulfill a wide range of needs and requirements. This also means that the final design of the park must assuage various fears about the impact that it will have on the local community. While this impact can take many forms, the environmental impact of a new park is often a key concern.
Transport Is Key
In 2016, roughly 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States were from light-duty vehicles. A large portion of this is made up by the need of most workers to commute to and from work in a personal car. Reducing the need for workers to commute to and from the park by car can potentially have a greater impact on the development's overall carbon footprint than any other decision.
While some of this will be up to the companies that ultimately inhabit the park (i.e., by allowing telecommuting), ensuring that the park is accessible by public transit is a hugely important step. If the location of the park is already set in stone, then it is important to work with local transit to ensure that it is placed on useful routes. For large parks, intra-park shuttle services are often a must.
Consider the Importance of Environmentally Friendly Partnerships
A key part of the growing eco-industrial park movement is the concept of environmentally friendly partnerships. Businesses within the park are able to benefit each other and the environment when there are clear synergies between their operations. While these potential partnerships are often clear in industrial parks, they can be established in commercial parks as well. Businesses that work closely together can benefit from close proximity to one another, and locating a wide variety of services for employees within the park can minimize the need for local commutes.
Enforce Green Building Standards
Enforcing environmentally sound building practices within the park can be a great way to ensure that the overall environmental impact of the park is minimal as well. Certifications such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard can be used to guarantee that individual structures on the site minimize their overall environmental impact. Since LEED and similar certifications prioritize energy and water efficiency and use, adhering to these standards also helps to reduce overall operating costs.
Make Use of Native Landscaping
All large business parks require significant attention to the landscaping. This extra polishing step is necessary both to attract high-end employers and to ensure that the park does not disrupt its surroundings. Landscaping can potentially have a huge ecological impact, however. One way to minimize this impact is to ensure that only native landscaping techniques are used. This means using plants that are naturally found in the local area. Not only does this eliminate the potential impact of invasive species on local flora, but it also minimizes water usage by making use only of plants that can survive the local climate.
Native landscaping has the added bonus of reducing overall maintenance costs. Since native plants are adapted to survive in their local environment, they require significantly less care and upkeep than non-native species.
The days of simply developing a large commercial complex without regards to how it will impact the local environment and community are long since passed. While this may seem like an obstacle, if treated properly it presents an incredible opportunity to attract high-end businesses and enrich the local community that the business park will reside in.
Reach out to a business park construction contractor to learn more.