US trials ‘eco-districts’

April 30th, 2013 Category: Office Cleaning

The US may start to trial ‘eco-district’ concepts after groups of architects, engineers, urban planners and community leaders attempt to address problems caused by urbanisation.

Office buildings and educational establishments in the UK are constantly adapting to be more green in their day-to-day routines, using environmentally friendly cleaning habits or reducing their electricity, for example. But in America, this has been taken to another level after teams of town planners and government officials came together to explore a concept known as eco-districts.

Some 80 per cent of the US population now live in urbanised areas, according to the 2010 US census, and while this has delivered many positive results to the country, some negative side effects have come about as a result. Water quality, sewage, air traffic, energy consumption and natural resource usage are all common problems of rapid urbanisation, which is something the country is looking to change.

An eco-district is a defined urban area in which collaborative economic, community and infrastructure redevelopment is explicitly designed to reduce negative and create positive environmental effects, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported. The concept works by focusing on buildings and systems within a defined district, rather than developing bespoke solutions to one building in an area, and has been touted as a potential solution to mass urbanisation problems.

As the Portland Sustainability Institute puts it, these “districts are small enough to innovate quickly and big enough to have a meaningful impact”. Brooklyn’s Gowanus project and pilot projects in Portland are good examples of where such projects may take off, and work to decipher whether these districts offer a viable solution has already begun.

For us in the UK, simply taking care in our day-to-day office procedures is the best way of mitigating our environmental impact, and using a green cleaning company with good credentials is a good place to start.