Al Bredenberg

North Carolina's Research Triangle Master Plan Seeks to Get More Done in Less Space, Sustainably

by , 11/20/12

RTP, research triangle, park, NC, north carolina, master plan

In its current form, the park does little to create a definable center. The new plan is based on a “clustered” urban design form that will serve the purposes of the park’s tenants and employees, while enhancing walkability and minimizing environmental disturbance. The plan calls for three “guided development areas” with the working designations of Triangle Commons, Park Center, and Kit Creek Center. Park planners anticipate integrating with the commuter rail system planned for the Triangle region, as well as developing enhanced public transport within the park itself.

Landscape goals include the preservation of open and green space, wetlands, watersheds, and wildlife habitat. Architectural practices, which are controlled jointly between the foundation and the park’s owners and tenants association, will stress green building design and LEED-certified construction. The plan calls for minimizing water consumption and pursuing opportunities for reuse of wastewater. Development activities will “Integrate storm water management features, including rain gardens and bio-swales, into open space design to manage the quantity and quality of storm water runoff.”

Energy efficiency and production of renewable energy are important goals. At the Triangle Commons cluster, the first one slated for development at the park, the foundation plans to incorporate a combined cooling, heating, and power plant (CCHP), along with “local energy centers” that would be owned and operated by individual building owners for heating and cooling. The plan calls for implementation of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems and geothermal energy in the park. The park will have its own material recovery facility for recycling and waste reduction.

Photos and illustrations courtesy of the Research Triangle Foundation

+ The Research Triangle Park

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