SmithGroup worked with the City of Alexandria, Virginia to develop an Eco-District as part of the Old Town North (OTN) Small Area Plan. With a significant increase in development in the neighborhood over the next 25 years anticipated by the Small Area Plan, community members expressed a desire to achieve high levels of district-scale community sustainability in OTN. The OTN Eco-District is a district-level comprehensive strategy for accelerating sustainable neighborhood development beyond existing regulatory requirements or sustainability certifications such as LEED or Sustainable Sites.
This study analyzed energy consumption, and water use in existing and proposed future development and proposed aggressive targets and strategies for reducing energy and carbon, and water consumption. The study also included district-wide stormwater management strategies for reducing runoff including separating storm and sewer pipes as new development occurs, green roofs, green infrastructure and stormwater BMPs. In addition, the study documents areas potentially impacted by sea level rise, analyzes the existing tree canopy and recommends strategies for increasing tree cover and natural habitat.
The framework provides the community and stakeholders with targets and strategies organized in low, medium and high levels, offering flexibility to adjust for various building and site conditions. The study also provides information on incentives available to encourage this high level of district-wide sustainability.