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Since 2008, the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) proudly partnered to offer the AIA/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 Fellow spends the summer months doing comprehensive professional and have the completed work published on the AIA and AIAS websites. Additionally, the Fellow is funded for the research and work in full equivalent to a summer architectural internship.

 
   
       

 

AIA 2030 Commitment Case Studies: Studying the Experience of Participant Firms


Megan Turner, AIA/AIAS COTE Research Fellowship 2012


Delving into business factors, behavioral science, and organizational change, this year's AIA/COTE Scholar explored how firms can successfully adopt the AIA 2030 Commitment to steer their building portfolios toward lower carbon solutions. The AIA 2030 Commitment is a growing national initiative that provides a consistent, national framework with simple metrics and a standardized reporting format to help firms evaluate the impact design decisions have on an individual project's energy performance and to evaluate the performance of designs across the entire firm portfolio.

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.

 
       

 

Deep Green Renovation: Broad Scale Strategies for Achieving Deep Energy Savings in Existing Buildings


Catharine Killien, AIA/AIAS COTE Research Fellowship 2011


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. The programs investigated in this report are Living City Block, the Seattle 2030 District, Portland Sustainability EcoDistricts, the Chicago Climate Action Plan, and the U.S. DOE Commercial Buildings Partnership Program. These particular programs were chosen in order to achieve diversity in terms of geographical location, scale, organizational structure, and methods.

 
   

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Low Carbon Communities: An Analysis of the State of Low-Carbon Community Design

Tyler Blazer, AIA/AIAS COTE Research Fellowship 2010

While “green” or “sustainable” design has been gaining momentum in the architectural and environmental communities, the global focus has broadened, as have the players. Today, the focus of sustainable design encompasses entire cities, stakeholders include developers, lawyers,
political leaders, business owners and citizens, and topping the list of
concerns is the need to reduce carbon emissions. To explore this priority,
this paper focuses on the current state of design (or retrofi t) for “low
carbon” communities. 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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Performance by Design: An Energy Analysis of AIA/COTE Top Ten Projects

Nathan Brown, AIA/AIAS COTE Research Fellowship 2009

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.

 
   

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Hydrology & Water Conservation

Brad Zuger, M. Arch, AIA/AIAS COTE Research Fellowship 2008

Water is the single most important resource. Humans have available less than 0.08% of all the Earth’s water. Yet over the next two decades our use is estimated to increase by about 40% (BBC News). Over the next century, water resources will become a central issue to the quality of human life forcing designers to rethink how water is used and distributed. Can water functions in the built environment mimic natural water systems? It is important for urban designers and architects to re-determine how water is used, conserved, distributed, and replenished in regards to the built environment

 
   

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