Eco Charrettes: A Key Part of a LEED-EBOM Initiative

  June 9, 2011

Today's tip is about eco-charrettes. Normally considered a strategy for new construction, facility managers would be well-served to hold an eco-charrette as a kick-off to a LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (or LEED-EBOM) initiative as well.

As LEED consultant Helen Kessler says in an article in the April issue of Building Operating Management magazine, projects for which sustainable facility management is the goal "can benefit significantly from the same sort of brainstorming as is done for new construction."

From the French for "cart" a charrette is essentially an extended thinking-out-loud session with all the important stakeholders in the facilities department and beyond - human resources, IT, and maybe a representative or two from upper management should therefore also be included. Goals for a project are defined, responsibilities are divvied up and a timeline can be set.

For LEED-EBOM initiatives, the eco-charrette is also important for identifying the specific credits the team will try to complete. Kessler suggests that it may be a good strategy to divide into teams and designate these teams as owners of particular credits. Often, the facility team does not have purchasing responsibilities, for instance, so creating a cross-departmental team to make sure items - both building products and other items - can meet LEED-EBOM requirements is the best strategy.

An important thing to remember for EBOM eco-charrettes, though, is to make sure you’re working on practical solutions. As Jenny Carney of YRG Sustainability says, "Ideation is great, but you need to keep a foot in the pragmatic realm and hash out follow up to-dos to make sure the ideas actually go somewhere."


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