Committee on the Environment


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Who we are

The AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE®) works to advance, disseminate, and advocate design practices that integrate built and natural systems and enhance both the design quality and environmental performance of the built environment. Expand your positive impact: Explore the COTE Top Ten Toolkit. Engage in our advocacy efforts. Enjoy our latest newsletter (and follow us on Twitter).

Why Advocate

By Brian D. McLaren AIA, CAE posted 12-31-2017 00:00


Read the latest advocacy update

Advocacy Update: AIA Congressional Testimony for Decarbonization
September 2019

On September 20, Carl Elefante, FAIA, testified before the House Energy and Commerce (HE&C) Committee’s hearings on “Building America’s Clean Future: Pathways to Decarbonizing the Economy” on behalf of the American Institute of Architects. The AIA has been granted “stakeholder” status by HE&C in regards to these hearings which were announced earlier in the summer.

Read more >

Want to catch up? Read past updates >

Our advocacy priorities

Architects play a critical role in creating a healthy, beautiful, inclusive and environmentally responsible built environment. For the last quarter century, the AIA Committee on the Environment has represented the leading edge of this movement and sets an example for others to follow. We have no intention of stopping now.

At our meeting at AIA Headquarters in Washington DC on February, 8, the AIA COTE Advocacy Task Force presented a six-point priorities list to AIA Government Relations and Advocacy staff. Working with input from the National COTE Advisory Group to develop a list of topics that most clearly support the organization’s agenda, and then weighing those topics against the agendas of the 115th Congress and Trumpf Administration, we submitted a template for the year’s advocacy activities.  With this list approved by AIA Government Relations and Advocacy, AIA COTE Advocacy will create strategies and action items to support these priorities as opportunities arise. Our priorities, in summary, are: 

  1. Infrastructure: Buildings ARE infrastructure, and improving energy efficiency in existing buildings is an infrastructure investment
  2. Planning for resilience is part of rebuilding America’s infrastructure
  3. EPA and DOE programs that support building energy use efficiency and sustainable design should be fully funded
  4. EPA programs that support water use efficiency and reduce burdens on municipal water supplies should be fully funded
  5. Scientific research by federal agencies into how buildings support human health should be fully funded
  6. Scientific research by federal agencies into chemical safety and the health impacts of toxic substances should be fully funded 

Feel free to submit comments on any of these positions to

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Why advocate?

Urgent issues are taking place at the federal level that could have serious consequences to COTE’s mission of advancing high-performing quality design in the built environment, which we know has a profound impact on the future of our communities. Architects and designers work within a framework of local, state and federal policy that is continually changing and we must support efforts to ensure this framework aligns with our core values.
If you are an architect or a design professional who is concerned about:

  • the urgency of climate change as a national, state, and local agenda item
  • the role of new and existing buildings in progress towards a carbon neutral future
  • the security of and access to data held by federal agencies (such as DOE, EPA, GSA, etc.)
  • resilience and sustainability as priorities for communities

then you might be looking for a way to plug in to targeted advocacy focused on what you do, who you are, and what you believe is important.
The AIA Committee on the Environment is creating the COTE Advocacy Network: architects and design professionals to advocate for key issues concerning the design of the built environment at the federal, state and local levels. Login to the AIA Advocacy Center and select "Join the Advocacy Network."