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.

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Engage in our advocacy efforts. Enjoy our latest on COTE news (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
Premier partners: Kingspan, Sherwin-Williams
Sustaining partners: GAF Roofing, KawneerLucifer Lighting Company, ROCKWOOL
Green partners: AutodeskEPIC MetalsHKSThornton Tomasetti
Allied partners:TLC Engineering

GAF x COTE: Looking at the Future

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

2021: Spectacular Top Ten Juries

By Kira L. Gould posted 01-04-2021 05:39 PM


2021: Spectacular Top Ten Juries

By Kira Gould 

COTE’s flagship programs are the core of its practice transformation mission, and as such, we take choosing the juries for these programs very seriously. This year, we are honored to have amazing jury teams for both the Top Ten Awards and the Top Ten for Students Competition.   

The COTE Top Ten Awards, in its 25th year, is the industry’s best known recognition program for honoring holistic design excellence that includes performance, resilience, and community connections. The Top Ten Measures that have been the heart of that program for years are now also the core of the AIA Framework for Design Excellence. And submitters must provide descriptions about their projects’ achievements in all 10 areas as well as metrics to substantiate performance achievements 

This year’s jury includes Michelle Amt, AIA, who is a Senior Associate and Director of Sustainability at VMDO Architects in Charlottesville, Virginia (and who oversees her firm’s reporting for the AIA 2030 Commitment); Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, founder of Marlon Blackwell Architects in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Renee Cheng, FAIA, who is dean of the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington (and a key voice in the AIA Guides to Equitable Practice, and recently wrote this piece for Architect); Erica D. Cochran Hameen, PhD, NOMA, who is Assistant Professor and co-director of the Center for Building Performance & Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture; and Lynn Simon, FAIA, who heads Google’s Real Estate and Workplace Services Sustainability. 

They will consider the submittal documents for dozens of submitted projects, and will be aided in this process by reports from 36 technical reviewers. The technical review process is another element of the Top Ten that sets it apart from other recognition programs. The technical reviewers, who are subject matter experts in various measures, review multiple projects; each project is reviewed at least eight times. Written feedback about reported metrics and other matters is shared with the jury.  This year’s technical reviewers include (at this writing): Christine Mondor, FAIA, evolveEA; Tiffany Broyles Yost, AIA, GBBN Architects; Pauline Souza, FAIA, WRNS; Nakita Reed, AIA, Quinn Evans Architects; Kim Shinn, PE, TLC Engineering; Jose Rodriguez, PE, Thornton Tomasetti; Jason Lackie, WSP; Jarrod Siegel, Assoc. AIA, OPN Architects; David Mead, PAE Consulting Engineers; Prem Sundharam, AIA, DLR Group; Julia Siple, AIA, Quinn Evans Architects; Jonathan Weiss, AIA, Jacobs; Jim Nicolow, FAIA, Lord Aeck & Sargent/Katerra; Erin English, PE, BiohabitatsYetsuh Frank, Building Energy Exchange and NYU; Robert Phinney, AIA, Consortium for Responsible Business; Michael Gamble, College of Architecture/Georgia TechJean Caroon, FAIA, Goody Clancy Architects; Dirk Kestner, PE, Walter P. Moore; Daniel Overby, AIA, Browning Day; Ralph Bicknese, AIA, Hellmuth Bicknese; Matthew VanSweden, Catalyst Partners; Joanna Frank, Center for Active Design; Jaclyn Whitaker, AIA, IWBI; and Brad Guy, AIA, Material Reuse and Catholic University. 

The COTE/ACSA Top Ten for Students Competition, now in its seventh year, provides students and faculty with resources to address those 10 measures in a studio setting. Hundreds of submitting student teams describe how their design projects integrate climate adaptive, resilient, carbon-neutral, and equitable strategies to address these measures. 

This year’s jury includes Nader Tehrani of NADAAA, who is also Dean of the Irwin Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union; Ray Huff, FAIA, who is Director of the Clemson Design Center and Director/Associate Professor Emeritus at the Clemson Architecture Center and also a founding principal of Huff + Gooden in Charleston, South Carolina; Yasemin Kologlu, who is a design director in SOM’s New York office; Kate Simonen, AIA, SE, who is a professor and chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington and also the executive director of the Carbon Leadership Forum; and Anannya Das, a student at Iowa State University’s School of Architecture (she will graduate in the spring with a Master of Architecture and Minor in Sustainable Environments) who was a Student Competition winner in 2020 and who thereafter did a summer internship, focused on integrated design and building efficiency, with OPN Architects.