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.

Enjoy our latest on COTE news (and follow us on X and LinkedIn). 

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

Check out COTE's history and timeline. 

Starting a local COTE or sustainability group and need some guidance? Check out the AIA COTE Network Resources here.

A big thank you to our 2024 sponsors: 
Founding sponsors: Building Green
Premier sponsors: Sherwin-Williams
Sustaining sponsors: GAF Roofing, Milliken, Andersen Windows,
BlueScope Buildings
Green sponsors: EPIC Metals
Allied sponsors: TLC Engineering, Sierra Pacific Windows

COTE Scholar Papers 

06-06-2016 03:07 PM

Since 2008, the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) has proudly offered the COTE Research Scholarship. This program asks one selected student to conduct research and studies on a particular topic related to sustainable design – both at the building and community scale. The scholar spends the summer months doing comprehensive professional research and the resulting paper is published on the AIA website. Additionally, the scholar is funded for the research and work in full equivalent to a summer architectural internship.

#CommitteeontheEnvironment #Research #SpecialProjects #CaseStudies #Reports/Essays

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Project Delivery and Cost Management Strategies for High...   3.35 MB   1 version
Uploaded - 06-06-2016
Sara Tepfer, 2013 Scholar: This report seeks to better understand successful project delivery and cost management strategies for high-performance buildings through a series of case studies and a litera¬ture review. This report first explores the current state of IPD throughout practice, common per¬ceptions of IPD, and where challenges have arisen. Each case study then explores how “IPD-ish” approaches were implemented in high-performance projects and how they benefitted cost-effective achievement of project outcomes, with a focus on energy per¬formance.
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Studying the Experience of Participant Firms   2.89 MB   1 version
Uploaded - 06-06-2016
Megan Turner, 2012 Scholar: Using the lens of organizational change, Ms. Turner developed firm case studies that identified patterns that enhance successful implementation, obstacles and challenges encountered by firms through the stages of implementation, and illuminated the unique ways in which firms have addressed and overcome them. Perspectives ranging from the large, multi-office firms to the small 3-person practice are provided to highlight the unique challenges and opportunities each face implementing to the AIA 2030 Commitment.
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Broad Scale Strategies for Achieving Deep Energy Savings...   602 KB   1 version
Uploaded - 06-06-2016
Catharine Killien, 2011 Scholar: In order to dramatically reduce energy consumption and curb carbon emissions in the United States, building retrofits must not only be more extensive, but also must occur on a broader scale. The numerous challenges involved in doing deep green retrofits has led to a relative lack of widespread success thus far in achieving retrofits on a broad scale. To examine the capacity for larger scale sustainability initiative programs to achieve retrofits on a deeper and broader scale, five case studies were developed on different programs, each operating at different scales and each aimed at improving energy efficiency in existing buildings.
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An Analysis of the State of Low-Carbon Community Design   1.01 MB   1 version
Uploaded - 06-06-2016
Tyler Blazer, 2010 Scholar: By investigating a sampling of communities that have focused on reducing their carbon emissions, this research examines some of the most important aspects of designing, building and commissioning a low carbon community. Architects and planners should consider these key aspects in all planning phases of a low carbon community—from designing communities to reduce energy demand to providing the best options for renewable energy supply. The aim of this research paper is to identify the current standing of low carbon communities, the key objectives these communities are successfully meeting, and the sorts of setbacks the communities have encountered.
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COTE Top Ten Projects   728 KB   1 version
Uploaded - 06-06-2016
Nathan Brown, 2009 Scholar: This study investigates the energy performance of buildings recognized by the Top Ten Green Projects award from the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (COTE). Actual energy use data was gathered for 28 projects for all fuel types. This energy use data is then compared to the energy use of a typical building of a similar type using Portfolio Manager, either by calculating an ENERGY STAR rating or by comparing the energy use to a national average for a similar building type. The researcher develops a methodology to further study buildings as cases, including a set of interview questions to identify important points in the design and delivery of a building that may affect its actual energy use. From the list of buildings with ENERGY STAR ratings, three were selected for the case study phase. The researcher then conducted a series of phone interviews, revealing crucial aspects of each design process.