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In the beginning….

Sustainability is the guiding principle for re-development of Devens.  Sustainable development concepts recognize that we are part of a natural system and promote a balance of social, economic and environmental issues to create healthy places to live, work and play, while recognizing, respecting and maintaining the natural system that exists.  The Devens Eco-Efficiency Center was created to aid in implementing and promoting sustainability in Devens and the surrounding communities.


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.   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.    

Eco-Industrial Park Defined:

"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 Website:

"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."
- Indigo Development Website:



Development of the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center:

In 2002, the Devens Enterprise Commission (DEC), under the direction of Peter Lowitt, created a steering committee comprised of citizens, business representatives, government officials and environmental advocates to develop a program that would help strengthen the eco-industrial park concept and assist organizations in working together towards a sustainable future for Devens. Through their research, the committee found that local businesses and organizations were more likely to participate in a program that provides technical assistance and recognition for implementing efficiency measures and pollution prevention initiatives. The Steering Committee thus began work on developing EcoStar - an environmental achievement and certification program. Through EcoStar, participating organizations commit to continuous environmental improvement that goes beyond standard compliance and promotes the development of partnerships to support achievement of a wide range of environmental, economic and social performance standards. Development of this program was jointly funded by the DEC and a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Planning Grant. Throughout 2003 and 2004, the Steering Committee continued to develop EcoStar, following the concepts of industrial ecology.  EcoStar encourages collaboration between firms to improve resource efficiency and support environmental protection.

Looking Ahead….

In addition to the current program benefits EcoStar offers members, the EcoStar team is working on an expanded suite of services that will be offered under the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center. These initiatives will build on the EcoStar offerings and include additional support services that will promote energy efficiency, the adoption of renewable energy technologies, the co-ordination of shared services, waste exchanges, and resource conservation and pollution reduction. All of the service offerings provided by the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center will enable cost-savings for the local business community! For more information, on current and future programs, contact Dona Neely, Director, Devens Eco-Efficiency Center.