An Indigo Industrial Ecology Paper
Creating systems solutions for sustainable development through industrial ecology

China's Guidelines for eco-industry park planning

These guidelines were formulated by China’s State Environmental Protection Administration for guidance and evaluation of EIP projects. The document is dated  2003-12-31 and is available in Chinese at

1. The characteristics and types of eco industrial park

Eco industrial park is a new industrial conformation, which is designed and built according to the idea of circular economy and the theory of industrial ecology. Through trade, different plants or companies are connected to form a complex, which can share the resources and exchange products. In another word, the products or waste of one company can become the raw material or resources of another company. This can make the connected companies be similar to a natural system, establish the circular industrial path of “producer-customer-decomposer”, and realize the sustainable development of regional society, economy and environment through the closed circulation of material, circular use of energy and minimization of waste. Eco industrial park has the following main characteristics:

1. Eco industrial park is a complex of nature, industry and society

2. Achieving the maximum use of resources and minimum discharge of waste through the exchange of by-products and wastes, circular use of energy and waste water and the sharable use of infrastructure among the processing units of the industrial park.

3. Ensuring the steady and sustainable development of the industrial park through the application of modern administration, policy and new technology such as sharing information, saving water and energy, re-circulation and reuse, environment monitoring and sustainable transportation technique.

4. Through constructing and operating park’s infrastructures, the environmental conditions of companies, the park and the whole community will reach a sustainable improvement.

2. The principles of eco industrial park planning

Sum up the characteristics of all sorts of eco industrial parks, the planning of the eco-industry park should obey the following rules:

1. Natural ecosystem principle: Eco industrial park should be connected with the regional natural ecosystem to maintain its eco-functions as much as possible. To fulfill the requirement of sustainable development, the existing industrial park should rearrange its industrial construction, reform its traditional industrial technique, dramatically increase the efficiency of resource utilization and decrease waste generation and environmental protection pressure. When choosing the site for a new park, people should give full consideration to the local ecosystem capacity and minimize the bad influence to the surrounding scenery, culture, regional ecosystem and global environment.

2. Eco-efficiency principle: Carry out clean production idea when designing the park, constructing infrastructure and buildings and operating production. More concretely, decreasing the resources cost and waste generation through the clean production among the processing units; decreasing the total consumption of raw material, water and energy through the interuse of the byproducts among the units in the park; decreasing the use of toxic material through the use of alternative, the innovation of process; encouraging the use of regenerative and reusable resources in construction, energy generation, manufacture and service. Among all the above rules, “decrement is first” -- which means decrease resource consumption and waste generation -- is the most basic and important requirement.

3. Life cycle principle: Intensify the life cycle administration of the raw materials before they enter into the park, and products and waste after the they leave the park, in order to minimize the bad environmental affects of the life cycle of the product and waste. Encourage provision of service products, which need low consumption of resource and energy, are benign to the environment and safe to use, and can be recycled, reused and safely disposed.

4. Regional development principle: Integrating the eco-industry park with regional development and characteristic economy; integrating the construction of eco industrial park with the renovation of the regional eco environment. Strengthening the connection between the eco industrial park and the community through training, education, developing local industry and employees’ residence construction. Integrating the design of eco industrial park with the plan of local economical development and letting it be harmonic with the plan of regional environmental protection.

5. Hi-tech and high benefit principle: Broadly using modern bio-technique, eco-technique, energy saving technique, water saving technique, recycling technique, information technique, advanced production administration and environmental administration criteria.

6. Pay equal attention to software and hardware principle: Hardware refers to the construction plan of projects including industrial facilities, infrastructures and service facilities. Software includes the establishment of environmental administration system, construction of information support system and enactment of preferential policy, which can let the eco industrial park get the healthy and sustainable development

3. The procedure of the eco industrial park planning

Generally, the eco industrial park planning includes the following steps:

1. Establishing the planning team
Planning team includes a leader group and a technician group.

2. Selecting park site
According to the current situation, selecting vacant area, the polluted wasteland (in this case, the development of eco industrial park can be regarded as recovery of local ecosystem or redevelopment of local economy, such as the eco industrial park in Baltimore, Maryland and Cape Charles, Virginia) as the eco industrial park site, or reforming the existing industrial park to eco park.

3. Research on current situation
Doing research and analysis on the natural condition, social economical background, current situation of the existing industries and enterprises in the park and surrounding area; Doing research and analysis on the material flow, water flow and energy flow, the origination and disposal of waste, the capacity and standard of environment and the possible channel for waste utilization.

4. Determining the goal for planning
The goal includes social, economic and environmental goals, such as the contribution and influence of the industrial park to the regional economic development, job creation, revenue, cost of service and cost of environmental renovation. The goal also needs to consider the investment, profit, return of investment, loan refund and the environmental standard.

5. Design the planning
Overall framework design
Doing the analysis on material flow, water flow, energy flow and information flow. According to the result of analysis and the goal of planning, generating the overall framework of eco park. The overall framework should include the main industrial production chains, overall arrangement and functional partition of the park.

Industry development planning
Making decisions on major industries, products scale and supporting projects for the park. Selection and guideline of the eco park project candidate

Recruit and select the project candidates, which include industrial projects, infrastructures and service facilities. Because eco industrial park is an open structure, it is necessary to establish the guideline for the projects in the park.

Policy design
Enact policy to administer the park and encourage investment.

Support system design
Support system should include enterprise incubation, information exchange system, waste exchange system, training, education, research, development, environmental administration system and clean production.

6. Investment and benefit analysis
This analysis will include the budget of eco industrial park investment, analysis of social, economic and environmental benefit.

4. The methods and techniques of eco industrial park planning

1. The common characteristics of all eco industrial parks are:

The eco industrial park planning should be based on traditional city and regional planning, existing park planning and environmental planning. The traditional planning, such as system planning, mathematic programming, layout planning technique (GIS tool, et, al), can be used in eco industrial park planning.

Since eco industry has its own characteristic, the planning should consist of the ideas and methods of clean production (pollution prevention), industrial metabolism, byproduct exchange, eco design, life cycle analysis, combined training plan and participation of the public and other interested groups.

2. Material integration

Material integration refers to the member’s relation between the upstream and downstream according to the park planning, adjust the material flow direction, quantity and quality, establish industrial ecosystem by using the process integration technique and minimize the consumption of resource by recycle and reuse of water, oil and solvent etc.
Material integration can reflect the eco industrial idea in three levels: in the individual enterprise, realizing clean production; among enterprises, the waste or byproduct of one enterprise can be used as raw material in another enterprise. This will optimize material utilization and reduce toxic material use in the park. Outside the park, fully take advantage of material demand information to make park a chain in the whole regional economical circulation and enlarge the circulation scale of material and energy.

Establishing a material and waste exchange center responsible for material exchange and waste disposal among the enterprise.

3. Water system integration

Water system integration is the special case of the material integration. The target of water integration is to save water. This can be achieved by multi-use of water. Traditionally, water is classified to drinking water and waste water. Recently, there is a new concept named “middle water” in some enterprises, hotels, schools and communities, which corresponds to the recycled water in industry. In eco industrial park, water can be even classified to more levels, such as super pure water used in semi-conduct industry, de-ion water used in biology and pharmacy, drinking water used in kitchen, restaurant, fountain pool, washing water used for washing vehicle and building, irrigation water et al. Because the low level requires lower water quality, it is reasonable for it to use the water from up level. For example, the following cases can be applied among the enterprises in the park: the recycled water system in many enterprises, i.e. the circulation of pure water – the first recycled water – the second recycled less pure water; the reuse of condensate from steam; recycling of indirect cooling water; recycling water in a closed loop.
In order to get rid of the harmful solid and liquid material and improve the water purity, it is necessary to do water treatment during the time of water’s multi-use. Water from treatment can be used in the same unit or the unit which requires the water of low quality.

According to different situation, water treatment process may be condensation, separation, filtration, super filtration, reverse osmosis, detoxification, precipitation, bio treatment and wet land treatment et al. As a part of eco industrial park, the water treatment facility can assume the sole responsibility of profits and losses.

4.Energy integration

Energy integration requires the maximum energy efficiency in the individual enterprise, the optimum use of energy in the whole park and maximum use of regenerative resource. In some cases, the total energy consumption in the park can be reduced to 50 percent. One way to save energy is step-typed use of energy, which means the discharge of high temperature energy flow can be used in the process which require less high temperature flow. According to different energy demand of different industries, products, process in the park, planning and designing the flow sheet of step-typed use of energy can make energy be fully used in the industry chain.

Another way is heat and power cogeneration. Heat and power cogeneration in China has existed for more than 40 years. In eco industrial park, industrial furnace and low or middle pressure turbine should be reformed to co-generate heat and power for both park and community. This way can save energy, improve environmental quality, enhance the use of heat, save cost and improve economic benefits.

5. Technique integration

The long term improvement and evolution of key techniques is a determinative factor for the sustainable development of eco industrial park. The concrete path to get sustainable development is to carry out clean production and green administration in the park. Hence, during the park planning and construction, according to product life period rule and eco design idea, following facts should be considered to satisfy the requirement of eco industry and establish the hi tech system to minimize the resource consumption and waste and pollution production: existing process renovation, high and new technique, anti risk technique for market, waste reusing and exchanging technique, information technique and administration technique.

6. Information Sharing

Equipping perfect information exchange system or establishing information exchange center is the key condition for park to get vigor and continuous development. Knowing the request and demand information is the precondition for the members to get effective material circulation and energy integration. The park construction is a long evolutional and developing process, therefore it needs a large amount of information to support this process. The information should comprise the information of constituent of harmful and non-harmful waste, where the waste comes and goes, the production of industrial chain and relative fields, market development, technique, rule and law, persons with ability and information of other industries related to industrial ecosystem.
The major functions of information exchange system are:

Providing park administration information to facilitate the circulation and exchange of material and energy in park, surrounding communities and certain regions.

Helping enterprise, especially small and middle scale enterprises to understand environmental problem and law and overcome the eco industrial operation obstacle by illustration, propagation, education and promotion provided by the system.

Providing the guideline, suggestion and technique for improving energy efficiency, saving resource, minimizing waste generation and taking clean production practices.

7.Facility pool

Facility pool is a characteristic of eco industrial park. Facility pool can reduce the resource and energy consumption, improve the utilization efficiency of facility, and avoid re-investment. It is very important especially for small or middle scale enterprise which is short of capital. The sharable facility in the park includes:
Infrastructure, such as waste water treatment, solid waste recycling and regeneration center, fire facility, grassland, et al.
Transportation, such as bus, convoy, et al
Storage facility, such as unused storehouse et al
Unused maintenance equipment and working equipment et al
Equipment used for training
5. The index system of eco industrial park construction

To plan and construct eco industrial park, the following four indexes should be followed:

1. Economic index, such as index of economic development level which includes yearly GDP increase rate, GDP per person, the total energy consumption for every ten thousand Yuan of GDP, fresh water consumption for every ten thousand Yuan of GDP, et al.

2. Eco industrial characteristic index, which consist of mature eco industrial chain, reuse index (includes water reuse rate, raw material reuse rate and energy reused rate), soft characteristic (production type, character of substitutable raw material), index of infrastructure construction (information net system, sharable waste treatment facility et al.).

3. Eco environment index, such as environment protection index (environmental quality, pollution discharge and treatment), ecosystem construction index (the ratio of regenerate energy to the total energy, grass area per person, the percentage of the grassland in the park), eco environment improvement index (the ratio of investment on environment to GDP).

4. Administration index, such as law and policy index (the enacting and execution of administration policy of park and enterprises), consciousness index (the ratio of enterprises taking clean production to all the enterprises, the percentage of the enterprises that have passed the ISO14001 certification, eco industrial training).

6. Enterprise incubator in the eco industrial park

Enterprise incubator was originated in the U.S.A. in 1950s. It is a new type of economic organization which helps enterprise to reduce investment risk, improve the possibility of survival and successful by providing place for research, production, business; sharable facility for communication, network, office; support to systematical training, consultation, policy, finance, law and market.

The main functions of the enterprise incubator in the eco industrial park are as following:
1. Providing the optimal environment and condition to do research and implement the eco industrial technique.
2. Providing the chance for enterprise to share facility and cooperate.
3. Providing up to date information on market and technique.
4. Providing personnel training for enterprise.
5. Providing support on risky financing, market business, accounting, organization arrangement and other business activities.

6. Providing public service on law, secretariat, office and communication equipment.

Enterprise incubator may be profitable or non-profitable organization. The later one is preferable for all eco industrial parks. Even if an eco industrial park is based on a certain corporation group, the government can still play the important role on providing guide and support, constructing infrastructure. For example, in the construction of Guangxi Guigang national exampling eco industrial (sugar) park, secretary of city committee, mayor, and directors of main department were formed a leader group to facilitate the harmonic development of society, economy and environment among park, community and city.

7.  Compiling the eco industrial park planning documents

The following are the main contents of the eco industrial planning.  Adjustment, addition and deletion can be made to it according to the individual eco industrial park.


1. General social, economic and environmental situation of the region.
Situation of community, city and surrounding region
Current situation of the park, the sort and structure of the industry, situation of main resources
2. The significance and advantage of park construction
The significance
The advantage
3. The goal and principle of planning
Overall goal
Concrete goal
Principles of planning
4. The overall design of industrial park
Analysis of current construction condition
Overall framework including main industrial chain in eco industrial park
The space arrangement and functional partition area of eco industrial park
5. Analysis of industrial metabolism in the park
Analysis of main material metabolism
Analysis of energy flow
6. Analysis of investment and benefit of thepark
Total investment
Financing channel
Economic benefit, social benefit, environmental benefit
7. Projects in the park
The beginning projects in park (industrial project, infrastructure, service facility)
Guideline for the projects in park
8. Organization and support system
Leader group, administration committee (coordinating office), investment and development corporation
Administration rule (the new rule should be united with the existing rule, if the eco industrial park is based on the existing park)
Stimulating policy (land policy, tax policy, subsidizing policy, loan policy, refund for waste discharge)
Support system (information system, developing new technique, enterprise incubator, environmental administration system, monitoring clean production et al.)
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