Sustainable design blog for progressive architecture

The Sustainable Design Blog

For the love of beauty, functionality, and the planet Earth

Why Would I Need NEED a Green Building Consultant?

Well... Do you want to be green, or do you want to be GREEN?

A green building consultant specializes in sustainable design and LEED certified projects. They may also have expertise in other green building rating systems and Energy Star.

For inexperienced project teams, the consultant can lead the entire team through the entire process. For more experienced teams the consultant may assist with any aspect of the project; from establishing sustainability goals at a project kick off meeting to documentation in the LEED online system when construction is completed.

Basically, a green building consultant will either make or break your project.

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Topics: Green build, Eco Charrette, consulting, Green Design

How To Implement A Design Charrette

How An Eco Design Charrette Is Used In A Sustainable Design Project.

One of the tools we use at Carlson Studio Architecture to design high performance sustainable buildings is the Eco Design Charette.  This is an intense half day or longer where all participants of a project focus on design ideas for efficient use energy, water and resources in the new sustainable design building project.

A Charrette is a French word meaning “little cart”.  In the Beaux Arts in Paris in the 19th century, proctors would collect the work of all the apprentices at the deadline hour with their little carts.  The word conveys a sence of an intense effort to finish a task before the deadline.

Today a Charrette can be called a workshop, a planning session, a collaborative meeting, a high performance design tool, an integrated sustainable design process, an intensive interaction of all the players on the project.  The charrette is a tool for moving the project through phases of discovery and design quickly and efficiently.  The focus is on creativity within a structured framework.  A charrette brings the right people, with the necessary skills, together to make decisions in a short period of time.
  • Goals are created and refined.  
  • Measurable objectives are established.
A typical Charrette agenda may look like this:

Introductions- All self-introduce Who you are, what your role is.

Roles and responsibilities:
Facilitator:  A facilitator is “a neutral servant of the people who focuses on guiding without direction, bringing about actions without disruption, helping people self-discover new approaches and solutions to problems, knocking down walls, while preserving structures of value, and above all, appreciating people as people.”  Definition by Bob Kelsch, The Art of Facilitation. The Art of Facilitation.

The facilitator sets the stage, ground rules, and record the ideas.  Charrette attendees provide the content.

Ground Rules for a successful Charrette:
•    Dignify others
•    Be open and honest
•    Eve ryone participates
•    All perspectives are of value
•    One conversation at a time
•    Focus on ideas and issues, not individuals and behaviors
•    Seek to understand and then to be understood

Building Consensus
Consensus means- Everyone agrees- RIGHT????  NO, it means….
•    I had the opportunity to share my opinions
•    I agree that the decision was arrived at fairly and openly
•    I will support the decision (even if it is not my preferred choice)

Once everyone gets on the same page and know the ground rules, the Integrated Design process can begin in earnest.  Steps may include:
  1. Review of project design parameters
  2. Site features, project size, budget, and schedule
  3. Establish project’s fundamental goals
SWOT analysis                         
    Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

Establish Design Criteria        
  •     List up to 10, prioritize and rate criteria
  •     Objective, subjective, qualitative, quantitative
Identify High performance design strategies and review LEED checklist as a tool to lead the discussion.  Review:
  1. Sustainable Site
  2. Water
  3. Energy & Atmosphere
  4. Material and Resources
  5. Indoor Environment Quality
  6. Regional Priorities
  7. Innovation 
  8. Recap LEED checklist

Break out groups to dive in deeper to specific topics

Final Report/Summary at end of Charrette, including                

1.    Action Items / Next steps
2.    Evaluate the day
3.    Celebration

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Topics: Eco Charrette


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