What is a "Eco-Charrette"

What, exactly, is an eco-charrette? It’s an intense meeting, half a day or more, in which all participants in a building design project focus on ideas for efficient use of energy and resources in the new building. The group generates goals and then develops strategies for accomplishing those goals. Eco-charrettes, also called sustainable design or environmental design charrettes, are becoming a common element in the design of high performance buildings and have been used successfully on some of the most progressive buildings

Description of a Green living "Eco-Charrette"

The concept might sound familiar, but the eco-charrette differs from a project team kick-off meeting because it generally focuses on sustainable development goals, strategies, and integrated design solutions.

The eco-charrette process begins when a new project is launched, sometimes before architects and engineers have been hired. The facilitator may interview the client before the eco-charrette to determine the client’s environmental and energy efficiency goals for the project and the desired outcomes for the work session. It is also common for sustainability goals and objectives to be developed during the eco-charrette.

Once the design team for the project has been selected, the entire team—architect, engineers, contractor, building user representatives, and owner—meets in the eco-charrette for at least a day, sometimes two or more, to devise strategies for attaining the project’s goals for sustainability and energy efficiency. Multi-day charrettes can also be used to launch the architectural design of a project.

To achieve greatest success in an eco-charrette, it should involve everyone—that is, anyone who might build, approve, use, sell, or even attempt to block the project. We all know that when people are involved from the outset, they are more likely to feel ownership of, and work for, the success of the project.

The time spent in the eco-charrette is designed to be highly productive, and profound change can result. Each participant brings specialized expertise or knowledge that may contribute to achieving the goals. The eco-charrette enables a group of people to discover solutions themselves, which creates a sense of ownership and consensus. For a sustainable building project, this is a formula for success


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