This paper presents CNT’s recent research on a range of innovations for Industrial EcoDistricts in the areas of energy, water, transportation, and waste. Our work looks at district-scale interventions through the lenses of: What is it?, Why do it?, and What does it cost? with practical, real world examples and financing strategies to help implementers and decisionmakers create next-generation industrial districts in their communities.
This paper examines:
Energy: Renewables, Storage, District Energy, Microgrids, Energy Efficiency, and Demand Management
Water: Water Efficiency, Demand Reduction, and Water Reuse
Transportation: Urban, Transit-Served Locations, Goods Transportation, and Logistics
We also discuss the several essential implementation factors, including site selection, governance, engagement, financing, policy, and documenting benefits.
While all of the strategies and technologies we have looked at are being tried in one form or another, for the most part they have yet to be brought to scale. As we begin to reimagine what infrastructure means in our communities, Industrial EcoDistricts present a way to create jobs while saving energy and water, addressing climate change, and creating an economic benefit for businesses and communities.
Jen McGraw, CNT Director of Sustainability Innovation
April 4, 2017
With the recent uptick in manufacturing around the United States, the importance of food manufacturing to local economies has come into focus for its roles in creating jobs and building on the local culinary and cultural assets of a community. With this focus has arrived an interest in supporting food manufacturing entrepreneurs as they start and grow their businesses. As a result, food manufacturing incubators and shared commercial kitchens are sprouting up in cities around the county.
To explore these issues, CNT convened a group of experts in December 2016 to workshop potential energy savings for the Hatchery, a food manufacturing incubator in Chicago. The goals of the workshop and this resulting white paper were 1) to help the Hatchery team make the operations as efficient as possible and 2) to share the workshop findings with the broader food manufacturing incubation industry to build understanding of the best energy saving options for such operations.
Anchored by its landmark 12-story clock tower on Pershing Road, Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District (CMD) was the first planned manufacturing district in the United States. Today, it stands largely empty. The site has myriad advantages – like its central location, solid construction, nearby rail connections, proximity to expressways, and robust fiber optic capacity – that gives it the potential to help bring a manufacturing renaissance to Chicago.
Stalled Out: How Empty Parking Spaces Diminish Neighborhood Affordability explores the relationship between unused parking and neighborhood affordability. Many cities, including Chicago, mandate the minimum number of parking spaces new developments need to build. As the report points out, however, these minimum requirements don’t always reflect real demand.
For this study, we interviewed multifamily developers in Chicago and went to the parking lots and garages of 40 apartment buildings, both market-rate and subsidized, to see how much parking was being used. Researchers went at 4:00 a.m., when most tenants have parked their cars and are asleep in bed. Consistent with our findings in the San Francisco Bay Area; Washington, D.C.; and King County, Washington, the study found that:
The supply of parking exceeds demand. Buildings offered two spots for every three units. According to our analysis, they only used one for every three.
As parking supply goes up, much of it sits empty. Apartments with fewer spaces saw a greater percentage of their parking used.
Apartment buildings near frequent transit need less parking. Buildings within ten minutes of a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train stop provided one spot for every two units. Even then, one-third of the spots sat empty.
Jonathan Rogers, Dan Emerine, Peter Haas, David Jackson, Peter Kauffmann, Rick Rybeck, Ryan Westrom
January 27, 2016
The District Department of Transportation and the District of Columbia Office of Planning recently led a research effort to understand how parking utilization in multi-family residential buildings is related to neighborhood and building characteristics. Prior research has shown that overbuilding of residential parking leads to increased automobile ownership, vehicle miles traveled, and congestion. Parking availability can affect travel mode choices and decrease the use of transportation alternatives. In addition, zoning regulations requiring parking supplies that exceed demand can increase housing costs and inhibit the development of mixed-use, mixed-income, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. The primary research goal is to develop an empirical model for parking utilization in Washington, D.C. and to apply the model to an interactive, web-based tool, named ParkRight DC, to support and guide parking supply decisions. A transparent, data driven process for parking supply decisions may help relieve problems associated with over- or under-supply of parking.
This paper outlines the data collection, model development process, functionality of the resulting tool, and findings on key relationships and policy implications. The model and associated tool relies on local information reflecting residential development and auto ownership patterns drawn from a survey of multi-family residential parking use at 115 buildings covering approximately 20,000 dwelling units in the District. The resulting model achieved an R-square of 0.835, which is a very strong model given the complexity of the relationship being researched.
This paper combines detailed travel-survey, transit-service, and land-use data to estimate a model for predicting the role of income and location efficiency in reducing household vehicle-miles traveled (VMT). The research then applies this model to census data collected in the most transit-rich areas of California. The research finds strong justification for California’s current support of location-efficient affordable housing as a strategy to reduce VMT and mitigate climate change.
This working paper was first posted in July 2015. The California Strategic Growth Council commissioned an academic review of the paper in order to consider its use in funding formulas for the allocation of cap and trade funds for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program. The working paper was revised in response to review comments and reposted on December 16, 2015.
Cook County's hub-and-spoke transit system no longer meets the needs of residents. Filling in the system's gaps will increase access to jobs, shorten commutes, and lower household transportation costs.
We collaborated with the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce on a report supporting greater transit-oriented development (TOD) activity in the Lakeview neighborhood. The paper found the number of households in the neighborhood on the decline, despite millions of dollars in development activity in the 2000s – perhaps because zoning makes TOD practically impossible in most areas. The report also found that while new TOD development has been proposed in the neighborhood, the lack of parking has been a contentious issue even though the rate of car ownership has fallen 6 percent and nearly one-third of Lakeview households own no car at all. We will continue to work with organizations like the Lakeview Chamber to accelerate TOD throughout the Chicago region.
Rail transit anchors downtowns and neighborhoods in communities throughout Chicago’s northern suburbs and across the region, but many of these communities are falling behind in creating mixed-income transit-oriented development. This guidebook offers case studies, policy recommendations, and public participation tools to help suburbs build affordable, accessible housing around transit.
The Chicago region's hub-and-spoke transit system leaves many people stranded in the gaps. About 10% of Cook County's residents live in transit deserts, leaving them with restricted mobility and limited access to all of the region's jobs and amenities.