Sustainable Development in Giles County:
A National Model for Sustainable Industrial Ecosystems
Giles County, VA is currently working with Sahomo Farms, Ltd. in a unique Public-Private Partnership (PPP) venture to develop portions of a 700 acre parcel of land along Route 460, ten miles west of Virginia Tech. The PPP is developing this parcel, the Wheatland EcoPark, to include commercial and light industrial ventures, with subsequent residential development and associated amenities being added by Sahomo Farms. The site offers the potential for renewable energy generation as well as a number of preservation areas that will make it attractive to progressive, environmentally friendly industries of the type that Giles County wishes to attract. It is also next to an elementary school which, along with its proximity to Virginia Tech, offers the potential to integrate learning and research as part of ongoing site development and operations.
Working with Virginia Tech’s Sustainable Facilities & Infrastructure Lab, the team has identified numerous ideas for developing the site in a sustainable fashion and making it a national model of an industrial eco-park. The first LEED Certified building has already been constructed in the park to serve as the headquarters and manufacturing facility for Tech spinoff company Nanosonic, Inc. Other options being explored include business and technical models for shared renewable energy generation; district-scale infrastructure for parking, heating, and cooling; on-site stormwater treatment; and industrial ecosystem models for using waste streams from one entity on site as feedstock for another. The development team worked closely with Virginia Tech researchers to establish guidelines for future tenants of the site to ensure that their facilities meet minimal levels of sustainability performance and conform to the intentions and objectives of the development.
Buildings in the Wheatland EcoPark are oriented to take advantage of solar orientation.