The project team hired PGE Green Building Services to facilitate an ecocharrette that included representation from the entire design team, City representatives, and PSU students. The goal of the ecocharrette was to capture an array of ideas that would increase the sustainability of the project, discover synergies between these ideas, and craft a sustainable development action plan. The design team was already experienced in using the LEED green building rating system so it was used as a format to organize the ecocharrette.
Prior to the ecocharrette, the architecture firm composed a LEED scorecard that identified pathways by which the project could earn basic certification and silver LEED ratings. Also, a chart was produced that allocated LEED documentation responsibilities among the team and served as a reminder and checklist throughout the process. In the end, Ewart estimates that 80-90% of the ideas emerging from the ecocharrette carried over into the design and construction.
The desire to build an extensive rainwater harvesting system as the project’s signature feature emerged during the ecocharrette and PSU applied for supportive grants soon thereafter. This turned out to be instrumental in securing the system’s inclusion in the project. Ewart notes, “Obtaining grants for the rainwater harvesting system and ecocharrette were key. The grants guaranteed that the process and systems could not be value-engineered out.”
Keys to Success - Pre-design:
- Include sustainability objectives in RFQ & RFP language
- Hold an ecocharrette to brainstorm strategies for integrating sustainability into the project and allocate tracking, documentation, and other responsibilities.
- Identify and secure funding sources for most valued project systems and processes early in the project.