Committee on the Environment


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Who we are

The Committee on the Environment (COTE®) is an AIA Knowledge Community working for architects, allied professionals, and the public to achieve climate action and climate justice through design. We believe that design excellence is the foundation of a healthy, sustainable, and equitable future. Our work promotes design strategies that empower all AIA members to realize the best social and environmental outcomes with the clients and the communities they serve.

Expand your positive impact:
Engage in our advocacy efforts. Enjoy our last newsletter (and follow us on Twitter).

To learn about the Framework for Design Excellence (formerly the COTE Top Ten Measures), click here.

If you missed the 2020 Top Ten Toast, download a recording here

A big thank you to our partners: 
Founding partner: Building Green
Sustaining partners: Lucifer Lighting Company, Kingspan
Green partners: AutodeskEPIC MetalsHKS,  ROCKWOOL, WRNSSkanska, Thornton Thomasseti
Allied partners: BNIM, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, LMN David Baker Architects, Integral

Supporting partners: Humanscale, Mahlum, BPKC, Opsis

GAF x COTE: Looking at the Future

This 2019 video was compiled by GAF, a COTE sponsor. 

Letter from the Chair- Nov/Dec 2020

By Julie Hiromoto AIA posted 11-08-2020 09:39 PM


Dear COTE community,

This is my last letter as Chair, and I want to use this opportunity to thank many the volunteers and staff at AIA who have institutionalized and mainstreamed so much of the great work COTE started!  This month’s newsletter is dedicated to the commitments, documents and resources recently created and promoted via  We’ve shared some of these efforts before but didn’t have the polished and branded content yet.  Please share these broadly with your office and local communities.

2030 by the numbers- This report captures the predicted energy use intensity (pEUI) 2019 data 311 firms submitted via the 2030 Design Data Exchange (DDx). The program's overall performance is up (49% pEUI reduction), but we still have a long way to go to meet the 2020 goal of 80% reduction, and 90% by 2025! Reports from prior years going back to 2010 can all be found on the same page.

AIA’s first Climate Action Plan (CAP) is ambitious and bold.  AIA commits to the exponential acceleration to decarbonate buildings, the building industry and the built environment by declaring an urgent climate imperative, transforming day-to-day practice, and leveraging support of all potential partners. Do you know what your local component is planning to align with this nationwide effort? What will be your contribution to these efforts?

The AIA 2021-2025 Strategic Plan is aligned with the goals of the AIA CAP and revolutionary in its thinking of broadening the tent and leveraging architects’ role as the catalysts and conveners to solve our society’s biggest challenges. It clearly identifies equitable climate action for environmental and human health as the priority.

The Materials Knowledge Working Group’s AIA Materials Pledge was approved by the Board in October. This holistic approach to the way we evaluate and specify products and finishes aligns with the Framework for Design Excellence and prioritizes design decisions for societal health, ecosystem health, climate health, and circularity. This best practice guide is a must read.!

AIA relaunched last month the Blueprint for Better campaign and website. This AIA public outreach reaches beyond just architects and includes a holistic approach to social justice, public health, and climate action.  You can send your clients directly to this platform to read about the influence of design thinking, including this piece on Zero Code.

I hope this collective advancement is inspiring.  There are so many opportunities to contribute and lead on climate, with COTE and all the other Knowledge Communities (KCs) too!  In fact, in a recent Board Knowledge Committee call, chair @Jessica A. Sheridan AIA challenged all the KCs- what are you doing to realize our collective climate action goals.  We need your help engaging and leading institute-wide!

A special thank you for the time, energy and commitment of the COTE Advisory Group members who are retiring come January, after three years of meaningful service.  Each of them had several priorities within the COTE Advisory Group and contributed in many other additional ways.
  • @Gunnar Hubbard FAIA (Thornton Tomasetti)- Communications, Component Network, Datamap, Toolkit contributor, Top Ten for Students Competition
  • @Vikram Sami AIA (Olson Kundig)- Toolkit contributor, Datamap
  • @Corey Z. Squire AIA (Department of Sustainability)- Toolkit primary author, co-author of the COTE Common App for awards alignment, instigator in the translation of the COTE Top Ten Measures into the AIA Framework for Design Excellence as a member of this AIA taskforce, and COTE Top Ten Awards working group.

The expertise, vision, and tenacity of our 2019 Chair @Marsha A. Maytum FAIA will also be big shoes to fill.  She was the driving force behind AIA’s resolution 19-11 which propelled the institutionalization of so much that we are celebrating in this message.  She also led the COTE Top Ten for Student competition program and COTE’s 30th anniversary capital campaign, advocated tirelessly for the Framework for Design excellence presenting all over the country, and was a member of the AIA Climate Action Plan taskforce, the AIA Sustainability Leadership Group and COTE Advocacy working group.

Our annual cycle of renewal brings in new voices, perspectives and passions to continue advocating, empowering, and facilitating COTE’s mission.  It’s been an honor to serve this amazingly committed community of leaders and visionaries.  Thank for all that you do.  I look forward to continued successes and accomplishments under next year’s Chair, @Elizabeth Rupp del Monte FAIA.
Julie Hiromoto
2020 AIA COTE Chair



12-11-2020 03:49 PM

I appreciate the information - very clear.  Thanks.
Good closing for a job done well - thank you Julie