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By Carl Elefante, FAIA, 2018 AIA President AIA COTE ® Colleagues, While I’m not with you in Chicago, I’m very much with you in spirit. The desire to elevate sustainability, green building and climate change is what motivated me to give three years to AIA pursuing and serving as President. I believe 2018 will be noted as the year architects recognized that it is up to us to address the intractable issues confronting our communities. Thanks for all the things you are doing in your practices, through AIA COTE ® , and in partnership with other sustainability and green building supporters like USGBC. Your commitment and amazing architecture give ...
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Image: Quito, Ecuador - United Nations Habitat III Conference on the New Urban Agenda By Phil Bona, AIA In a time of rapid change, generational transitions, and significant global population growth, attainable housing remains a fundamental need and expectation of the human experience. As such, the world’s housing crisis and its impacts on social equity is one of the most difficult challenges facing leaders and policymakers. Habitat III was the third convening of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. It took place in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016 and was attended by all member states of the United Nations ...
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By Larry Strain, FAIA In 2006, Ed Mazria woke up the design community by pointing out that buildings were responsible for a much larger portion of GHG emissions than we had previously been aware of. The current UN Environment Report puts it at close to 40-28 percent from building operations and 11 percent from the emissions embodied in making buildings. Architecture 2030 created the 2030 Challenge that laid out a road map to get to zero emissions. In the beginning, the 2030 Challenge focused on reducing operational energy and associated GHG emissions--the AIA 2030 Commitment is about reducing the operational energy and carbon emissions of our buildings. ...
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By @Michael R. Davis FAIA Looking back at AIA COTE ® federal advocacy efforts in 2018, most of our work was writing and delivering statements of opposition to planned EPA and Administration actions that we believed were diametrically opposed to AIA COTE ® ’s principles. We opposed the EPA’s “Affordable Clean Energy Rule” (a rollback of the Clean Power Plan), the “Significant New Use Rule” that proposed new avenues for approving the use of asbestos, the proposed de-regulation of hydrofluorocarbon leakage from refrigerant systems, and the elimination of the words “climate change” from FEMA’s strategic planning documents. We also worked with the AIA President ...
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Dear COTE ® Colleagues, My final newsletter of the year is dedicated to the amazing COTE ®  advisory board, the incoming 2019 Chair Marsha Maytum and Mary Ann Lazarus, past chair. The best part of collaborating with this amazing group of people is the friendships I have made. We have accomplished so much this year and built a momentum that will continue for years to come. My hope is that we will continue to be linked with the depth of knowledge and expertise that exists within the AIA COTE ® network of past, present and future members! It is with a sense of urgency that I summarize my thoughts for you on the recently released Fourth National ...
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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz shares her views on coming together for cities affected by major hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz (pictured) at her Closing Plenary Keynote in Greenbuild 2018. (image courtesy Pierpont Communications)   A year after hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 and claimed more than 3,057 lives, its cities remain haunted by disrupted lives of survivors, unlivable spaces, and lack of light. It’s never easy to bounce back after a natural disaster of this magnitude. Just look at the effects of similar storms resulting from extreme climate like category 5 typhoon Haiyan ...
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By @Kira L. Gould Anyone who read about the latest U.N. reports on the climate science predictions can be forgiven for feeling as though her week’s work amounted to decoupage on deck chairs. It was harrowing and disturbing. There’s been a lot of that on all fronts lately.   So in October, a gentle reminder: Please exercise your right to vote next month. And consider voting with our changing climate in mind. As Paul Hawken reminded us recently, reversing global warming is actually possible. Architects and allied professionals have the tools and the wherewithal for the innovation that can get us there. But we must be sure that those in ...
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AIA Asheville’s will host their fourth annual Where Building Science Meets Climate Science conference on November 1-2, 2018. Image: AIA Asheville By Scott Shuford  With the cost of repairs and rebuilding soaring into the billions in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, communities across the Southeast are urgently seeking ways to mitigate against future extreme weather events. Some solutions will be presented at the AIA Asheville’s fourth annual Where Building Science Meets Climate Science conference in Asheville, NC on November 1 and 2, 2018. The theme of this year’s conference convened by AIA Asheville COTE and CASE Consultants International ...
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By @Taylor C. Walker AIA and @Corey Z. Squire AIA   Buildings are becoming increasingly complex, but the timeframe to design and document them is shorter than ever. A constant barrage of information often demotes sustainability to just one of many competing priorities that projects teams struggle to fully incorporate into their work. This is no different in our practices . The process we took to develop the AIA COTE Top Ten Toolkit (now in Phase 1 Draft stage) is very similar to the process we use to integrate sustainability at our own firms. It’s based on building a collective understanding of each measure, and applying a mix of technical ...
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Goody Clancy became the first JUST organization in the city of Boston. Image: Goody Clancy By Randolph Meiklejohn, AIA  In mid-2018, design and planning firm Goody Clancy became the first JUST organization in the city of Boston, and what had begun as a research and policy-writing project came out into the open in our workplace, as we started learning together how to be a better company. Developed by the International Living Future Institute, the JUST program focuses on social equity and employee engagement, and it invites an organization to self-assess and to share data on twenty-two metrics. Goody Clancy’s “JUST label”—think nutrition label—now ...
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Dear COTE Colleagues, For me, Autumn symbolizes changes and an awareness of the future (to get prepared for the coming winter!)  A perfect time to embrace changes our profession must make to become more diverse. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, "The only constant is change ." Our lack of diversity is one problem our problem-solving profession has not solved and it is intrinsically linked to sustainable communities and firms. As of last year, within the AIA, diversity in leadership remained low, a gender pay gap persists. Only 28.6 percent of architects are women and 2.1 percent are black. These are dismal metrics . A bright ...
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By @Michael R. Davis FAIA In their September 2018 meeting, the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects approved a number of amendments to AIA’s Code of Ethics . Among them were changes that make sustainable design more explicitly an ethical imperative for all AIA Members. The newly adopted version of Canon VI, Obligations to the Environment, describes sustainable design in more specific, compelling, and actionable language and helps frame the topic as the defining challenge for Architecture today. It includes separate Ethical Standards for energy conservation and greenhouse gas emission reduction, water conservation, building ...
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By @Corey Z. Squire AIA and @Helena Zambrano AIA All professions tend to be a bit insular. Doctors have lunch with other doctors, lawyers marry other lawyers, and architects have a tendency of living in a world of their own making. “Outside the Circle” was a lecture series that was designed to introduce the architecture community a range of ideas, problems, and solutions, that relate to the built environment, but have been tangential to the major concerns of our profession. Presented by the San Antonio AIA COTE from fall 2017 through spring 2018, the series was a major success for our chapter and can serve a template for COTE chapters around the country. ...
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Dear COTE colleagues:  A shift is underway, both at AIA and far beyond, toward new policies and initiatives that will bring us closer to adapting to our changing climate. The Global Climate Action Summit convened in September in San Francisco and engaged people all over the world. An AIA delegation including COTE leaders participated throughout the week. Cities will shape our future and the goal outlined by the World Green Building Council at COP 21 in Paris in 2015 was that by 2050 all buildings will only use as much energy as they generate. Advocacy in all forms was high on the agenda and a sense of urgency that policy changes must happen ...
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As a part of AIA’s continued dedication to sustainability and carbon neutrality, we are sending a delegation to the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco September 12-14. Those attending on AIA’s behalf include: 2018 President Carl Elefante, FAIA Dave Collins, FAIA, Principal at The Preview Group Jessie Cornelius, Senior Director of Media Strategy at AIA Betsy del Monte, FAIA, Principal Consultant at Cameron MacAllister Group Sarah Dodge, Senior Vice-President of Advocacy & Relationships at AIA Jill Gotthelf, AIA, Principal at Walter Sedovic Architects Kara Kempski, Manager of Federal Relations at AIA Marsha Maytum, FAIA, Principal ...
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AIA Maine Executive Director Jeannette Schram, Lee Burnett of Local WoodWorks, and Naomi Beal, Executive Direct of Passive House Maine at the Maine Wood + Sustainability Conference. Image: AIA Maine By Timothy Lock, AIA As a member of the AIA Maine Board of Directors and co-chair of the AIA Maine Committee on the Environment, I feel it is extremely important to not only educate membership, but also reinforce areas of proven excellence. In a very rural and small state, it can be hard to identify specific areas in which we are leaders within the discipline. Excitingly, our northern frontier location and its harsh environment have helped carve a niche; ...
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Dear AIA COTE colleagues, This summer’s catastrophic wildfires continue to ravage California, so it is appropriate that the Global Climate Action Summit will be hosted September 12-14 in San Francisco. AIA is engaged, will be at the table, and is a sponsor of two affiliated events: the Carbon Smart Building Day and the Climate Heritage Mobilization .  We will be meeting with regional COTE leaders and several COTE members will be attending the summit, bringing a strategic purpose and actionable items to the event.  We are engaged beyond issues that are occurring at the national level, issues that are globally substantive. While the actual summit is ...
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Image: International Living Future Institute By Lona Rerick, AIA There is often a disconnect between our individual actions as designers and the downstream impacts of those decisions. We say what we want healthy, responsibly sourced products in every building. But it’s time to close the gap between the world we want and the actions we take. Collaboration. It’s the buzzword we’re all using. And it’s also the only way forward if we want to fundamentally change the building products industry, a goal I’m passionate about as the chair of the AIA Materials Knowledge Working Group. Changing the industry means changing how products are made, what we ...
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Seen & heard at A'18

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This is what plurality looks like--there was a flashmob outside the Javits Center midday on Friday with calls for equity and inclusion from Beverly Willis, FAIA; Rosa Sheng, FAIA; and others;  Architect covered the event .  By Kira Gould The national AIA Conference on Architecture is always very busy, and dropping it into New York City seemed to heighten that quality -- and infuse it with a keen sense of celebrating the city, which was just right for the Blueprint for Better Communities agenda and the New Urban Agenda backdrop to AIA activities. For COTE, the history and leadership around green building in New York make it perfect, too, and we had ...
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Corey Squire, AIA and Tate Walker, AIA share the Top Ten Toolkit with Z Smith, FAIA, on the A'18 Expo Floor. Image: Kira Gould By Corey Squire, AIA and Tate Walker, AIA AIA’s COTE Top Ten Measures of Design have been the benchmark for high performance and high design for the past 25 plus years. Recently, they’ve taken on new life. This year, a task group of subject matter experts from across the country put together a meta-analysis of the award criteria in the form of a COTE Top Ten Toolkit (Phase 1) that debuted in June at A’18. The intent is to make the criteria accessible to all practicing architects by cataloging the vast amount of resources ...
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