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. 

Mainstreaming Zero Carbon:  a special issue of Buildings & Cities

By Kira L. Gould posted 11-13-2020 07:38 PM


Mainstreaming Zero Carbon: a special issue of Buildings & Cities 

By Kira Gould 

Buildings & Cities is ainternational, open access, peer-reviewed, academic journal publishing high-quality research and analysis “on the interplay between the different scales of the built environment: buildings, blocks, neighbourhoods, cities, national building stocks and infrastructures.” Its editorial team, led by Richard Lorch, is dedicated to making peer-reviewed research accessible and free to allThe collection of papers in this special issue -- Education and Training: Mainstreaming Zero Carbon -- examines the pressing need in architecture education and the profession for carbon and climate literacy involving the skills and knowledge required to create zero carbon projects. The special issue grew from discussions about architectural education at the 2019 international Reynolds Symposium entitled ‘Education by Design’, organized by the University of Oregon. Two COTE leaders, Marsha Maytum, FAIA, COTE’s 2019 chair, and Bill Leddy, FAIA, COTE’s 2013 chair, keynoted the 2019 event. Alison Kwok, who has helped with the ACSA and AIA COTE Top Ten for Students Competition for several years, was a lead organizer.   

As Fionn Stevenson and Alison Kwok write in their introductory essay: “Reducing carbon emissions from buildings is a key part of the response to the climate emergency. There is an urgent need to achieve net-zero operational carbon emissions in this sector in the next decade and overall net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, according to the World Green Building Council. What does this mean for organisations and the workforce responsible for creating, operating and maintaining a sustainable and healthy built environment? They need to have the capacities, capabilities (knowledge and skills) and competencies to rapidly decarbonise built environments and reduce environmental degradation for both new construction and the existing building stock. However, this workforce currently lacks the appropriate low-carbon and knowledge skills at national and global levels. This has immediate and long-term negative consequences due to the longevity of buildings, infrastructures and cities. The decisions and designs made today will continue to impact for 60 and more years. A rapid transition is therefore needed in universities and training colleges in the scope and nature of the knowledge and skills that are provided to students and existing professionals/workers.” 

Coming in February 2021, there will be a virtual event on this topic; we'll share those details when we have them.