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AIA COTE Chapter Guide for State and Local Committees on the Environment

Table of Contents
1.0 Mission and Goals

2.0 Leadership Structure

2.1 2009 Advisory Group

2.2 Regional Team

2.3 COTE Volunteers, Friends, Chapter Leaders, and More

3.0 Starting a COTE Chapter

3.1 How to Get Started

3.2 Membership

3.3 Finances

4.0 Sustaining an Active COTE Chapter

4.1 Programs and Activities

4.2 Membership

4.3 Allied Organizations

Mission and Goals

COTE Mission

The Committee on the Environment (COTE) works to advance, disseminate, and advocate—to the profession, the building industry, the academy, and the public—design practices that integrate built and natural systems and enhance both the design quality and environmental performance of the built environment.

The committee reflects the profession’s commitment to providing healthy and safe environments for people and is dedicated to preserving the earth’s capability of sustaining a shared high quality of life. The committee’s mission is to lead and coordinate the profession’s involvement in environmental and energy-related issues and to promote the role of the architect as a leader in preserving and protecting the planet and its living systems.

COTE provides the AIA with knowledge about environmental issues and advises the Institute on environmental policy matters affecting the practice of architecture. The committee supports cooperation with educators and institutions of learning, manufacturers, government agencies, environmental organizations, and industry groups in advancing environmentally sound design processes and standards, as well as environmentally innovative materials and integrated systems.

COTE Goals

educate architects about the environmental and energy-related impacts of design decisions and encourage active membership participation
communicate the AIA’s environmental and energy-related concerns to the public and private sectors and influence the decisions of the public, professionals, clients, and public officials on the impact of their environmental and energy-related decisions
foster leadership among architects in all facets of environmental decision making
recognize environmental leadership of architects in practice, education, industry, and government
promote implementation of sustainable design programs and ecological literacy in architecture schools and other educational venues

maintain alliances with other AIA Knowledge Communities and committees and with professional and trade associations such as the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA); the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA); the International Code Council (ICC); the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC); the Urban Land Institute (ULI); the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); and other leaders in environmentally responsible design

Leadership Structure
The AIA/COTE national advisory group is a made up of five volunteer professionals who work with more than 30 volunteers on various Task Groups. The regional team is a group of six past COTE Chapter Chairs who each maintain contact with several of the 49 local and state COTE chapters.

2.1 2009 Advisory Group

Dennis A. Andrejko, FAIA (Co-chair)
University at Buffalo State University
Williamsville, New York

Kenneth Scalf, AIA (Co-chair)
Architectural Energy Corp.
Franklin, Tenn.

Filo Castore, AIA LEED AP
Abel Design Group

Alexis Karolides, AIA
Rocky Mountain Institute
Snowmass, Colo.

Gregory Mella, AIA LEED AP
Washington, D.C.

David Miller, FAIA
The Miller/Hull Partnership

Whitney Okon, Assoc. AIA
Applied Business Sciences, Inc.
Charleston, S.C.

Henry I. Siegel, FAIA
Siegel & Strain Architects
Emeryville, Calif.

Arthur Vernon Woodworth, AIA
R.W. Sullivan, Inc.

Hofu Wu, FAIA
California State Polytechnic Institute, Pomona
Pomona, Calif.

2.2 Regional Team

COTE has formed a regional team of six AIA members who have been leaders in their notable local COTE chapters. Some of them founded or chaired active chapters; some are still co-chairs of those today. This group represents a pool of knowledge that can help strengthen the link between COTE national connect and local chapters in a way that is mutually beneficial and supports the goals and aims of both. A key goal of this group is to support state and local chapters. They also consult on the content of the new COTE newsletter and other communications. They continue working with COTE Advisory Group; they will call on COTE volunteers as needed.

The six regional team leaders are listed below with associated local chapters. Additional regional team leaders may be added in the future.


New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont

Jason Kliwinski | Trenton, NJ |

    • BSA COTE (AIA Boston)

    • AIA Connecticut COTE

    • AIA New York COTE

    • AIA Maine COTE

    • AIA New Hampshire Environmental Guild

    • AIA Eastern New York COTE


Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, DC, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina

Hal Bolton | Washington, DC |

    • AIA Washington DC COTE

    • AIA Pittsburgh COTE

    • AIA Northern Virginia COTE

    • AIA New Jersey COTE

    • AIA Charlotte COTE\

    • AIA North Carolina COTE

    • AIA Bucks County (PA) Committee on Green Architecture

    • AIA Baltimore COTE

West Coast
Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska

Tara Hanby | Portland, OR |

    • AIA San Francisco COTE

    • AIA Santa Clara Valley COTE

    • AIA Seattle COTE

    • AIA Portland COTE

    • AIA Los Angeles COTE

    • AIA East Bay COTE

    • AIA Honolulu COTE

    • AIA Inland California COTE


Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming

Alex Thome | Denver, CO |

    • AIA Arizona COTE

    • AIA Denver COTE

    • AIA Utah COTE

    • AIA Las Vegas COTE

Southeast and Gulf

Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Virgin Islands, Tennessee, Puerto Rico

Amanda Tullos | Houston, TX |

    • AIA Atlanta COTE

    • AIA Austin COTE

    • AIA San Antonio COTE

    • AIA Houston COTE

    • AIA Dallas COTE

    • AIA Miami COTE

    • AIA Eastern Oklahoma COTE

    • AIA Central Oklahoma COTE


North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky
Len Sciarra | Chicago, IL |

    • AIA Wisconsin COTE

    • AIA Northeast Illinois COTE

    • AIA Chicago COTE

    • AIA Cincinnati COTE

    • AIA Cleveland COT

    • AIA Columbus COTE

    • AIA Iowa COTE

    • AIA Kansas City COTE

    • AIA Minnesota COTE

    • AIA Nebraska/AIA Omaha COTE

    • AIA Indianapolis COTE

    • AIA Ohio COTE

    • AIA Michigan COTE

2.3 COTE Volunteers, Friends, Chapter Leaders, and More

COTE relies heavily on a vast number of volunteer members and friends. We currently have an active Communications committee, as well as a large pool of volunteers who help us with the Top Ten program, education programs, allied organization relationships, and more.

For an updated list of current local & state COTE chapter leaders, please click here

Past COTE Leaders, Volunteers, and Friends

A vast number of individuals have contributed to COTE’s effectiveness over the years (more details about them will be included in the forthcoming COTE History section that will appear in the next version of the Chapter Guide). Some of those who have led and participated in COTE include:

Bob Berkebile, FAIA; Greg Franta, FAIA; Don Watson, FAIA; Harry T. Gordon, FAIA; Mark David Rylander, AIA; Dan Williams, FAIA; Joyce Lee, AIA; Sandy Mendler, AIA; Randy Croxton, FAIA; Gail Lindsey, FAIA; Susan Maxman. FAIA; Charles Eley, FAIA; William Bobenhausen, FAIA; Muscoe Martin, AIA; Joel Schurke; Robert Kobet, AIA; Dan Nall, FAIA, PE; David Nelson, AIA; Bill Browning, Hon. AIA; Bill Reed, AIA; Harrison Fraker, FAIA; John Montgomery; Lance Davis; Gregg Ander, AIA; Drew Stelman, AIA; Joe Derringer, AIA

3.0 Starting a COTE Chapter

AIA Chicago COTE: Start small—small events, simple events, events that cost no money. Be consistent— for example, pick a day of each month so people can make plans. Very important—figure out your channels of communication, how to advertise events, and more important, make decisions as to what is the local mission for your local chapter, what is it that excites your group-knowledge, activism. Identify other local green groups and determine how the local COTE will be different and why people will attend or spend the time to volunteer. Also, you will need to think about the relationship of the local COTE as an arm of the AIA and in that regard will it be a group for architects or much broader? The answer to this question will depend on many factors, and the local COTE will need to reflect on it.

3.1. How to Get Started

    • Establish a passionate and committed core group of five to seven people in the committee that is known for its ability to make things happen. Then try to have at least 10 people always attending. Discuss with this group what you want to get out the committee—are the primary goals education, networking, or other elements? This type of brainstorming will help you plan relevant content.

    • Contact your local or state AIA chapter (component) director to express your interest in starting a committee. Ask your component director if a COTE committee was already started in the past. If it was, contact the some of committee members of that time and ask why it was disbanded.

    • Contact the AIA COTE Regional Team Leader for your area to review this guide and get started.

    • Make sure you (and your committee) know AIA COTE mission statement. Then, try to create your committee mission statement that is directly related to your local realities.

    • Set realistic goals; monthly meetings are recommended, but if your group is small and spread thinly, a lower frequency can be effective. You can expand the goals in subsequent years.

    • Prepare agendas for monthly meetings, and send out meeting notes when you are done; this will help you keep track of progress (and some components may require monthly or quarterly reports).

    • Meet with component leadership to make sure you have an understanding of committee policy, budget, and finances and of whether AIA staff is available to assist.

    • Consider inviting your component director to attend the first meetings. Thereafter, a staff member of your component might be assigned to attend your monthly meetings.

    • Set up a Web site (even one page) where you can list committee leaders and an events calendar (at minimum).

See the following for examples:
AIA Houston
Boston Society of Architects
Sustainable Dallas
AIA New York
AIA Seattle

    • Make contact with local nonprofit green organizations and coordinate schedules and programs to avoid duplicating efforts.

    • Try to reach different market players as members or as speakers (government, developers, clients, contractors, engineers, leaders of the community)

    • Collaborate with USGBC chapters if they exist in your community or region.

    • Connect with your regional team leader so that you know what national COTE is doing, and national COTE knows what you are doing.

    • Seek ways to involve students in your efforts.

    • Talk to your component to see whether the AIA Design Awards for your area/region has a green category. If they do, offer your committee's help to improve it. If they do not have one, offer your committee's help to generate one.

    • Make sure you have access to your component e-mail list so that all AIA members in your area you checked Sustainability/Committee on the Environment on their member forms will know about your activities. Once a year, generate an e-mail survey for the total local AIA membership (or insert some COTE questions into the component’s survey). Consider annually surveying COTE members to understand their expectations.

3.2. Membership

When renewing their annual membership, 7,000 AIA members check “sustainable design” as a strong interest. When a few, or many of them, are in the same place, a COTE chapter is possible. Ask your component leadership for the above-mentioned list, and verify whether there is an actual interest. A less formal event, possibly a social mixer, might be a good first meeting to share ideas in a more relaxed fashion. Those interested in forming committees should check with their local, state, or regional AIA components for their guidelines for committees.

AIA Charlotte COTE: We have found that by opening the membership to persons outside the architecture profession, you get a more interactive group. We have members that include students and professors from the local university, engineers from the local ASHRAE and ASLA chapters, photovoltaic suppliers, and wind and solar institute employees, as well as interns and architects. This not only increases your pool of volunteers, but helps to provide relevant discussions during meetings that keep and attract members. Offering presentations with continuing education credits for architects and engineers helps too; the local or state AIA can help with accrediting presentations.
AIA Houston COTE: Including other organizations is good, especially getting the word out about events. Students and interns are very important to helping get things done. But, as always in committees, there are several dedicated people that are relied upon to get most of the volunteer work done. Understandably, most people are very busy.

3.3. Finances

Financial matters should be discussed with your local component, as committee support and component structure varies widely.

With respect to fund-raising, here’s what several active chapters said in the 2005 survey of COTE chapter chairs:

AIA Charlotte COTE: In order to finance some of our activities, we hold an annual Green Products Expo before and after one of the local AIA membership lunches. Local product representatives have been eager to pay a few hundred dollars for a display table if they know they can get the attention of numerous local architects in one location.

AIA Houston COTE: We have put together a Green Building Symposium that helps to raise money, and we ask for sponsors for workshops and other get-togethers. Our typical monthly CEU courses rely on volunteer speakers. We do not have a budget, per se, but work closely with our AIA Chapter to make sure we meet expenses. We rely on volunteer time to coordinate most projects, and some help from the local AIA Chapter. We accept sponsorships for events with discretion.

4.0 Sustaining an Active COTE Chapter

AIA Charlotte COTE: Let the committee members choose activities that interest them. At the beginning of each year we usually propose a few events that we have been holding annually (such as design awards, expo, building tours, and continuing education), and then let members form smaller sub-committees for other activities (such as Earth Day or Arbor Day events, etc.).

4.1. Programs and Activities

No single recipe exists for an effective COTE chapter. Because a chapter can function on many realms, we thought the best way to illustrate the possibilities would be to quote the chapters themselves (based on our 2005 Survey of Chapters).

Events & Member Education

AIA Houston COTE: We discuss events at our monthly meetings; some are ongoing, like CEU lectures; we have other events as opportunities arise, like a green roof workshop, we try to network and coordinate with other groups’ events, we also have tours, and try to offer discounted or free programs as community outreach.

AIA Baltimore COTE: We have held a symposium in conjunction with Morgan State University, we arrange for the fall education session for AIA Baltimore’s Continuing Education Committee, and we have helped establish, in conjunction with CSI, USGBC, ASLA and IIDA, Baltimore Green Week. Now in its third year, Baltimore Green Week is a weeklong celebration of sustainability with a wide variety activities scheduled every night of the week throughout the city sometime in the spring (usually around Earth Day). Events have included lectures, a screening of The Next Industrial Revolution with director Shelly Morhaim in a panel discussion, helping to tear up asphalt in city school playgrounds, a green trade show, and we are considering hosting a Green Tie Ball at the end of the week.

AIA Bucks County (PA) COTE: I have organized a green Homebuilding Task Force for the local HBA Chapter. We have then offered multiple educational seminars for the HBA’s membership as support for this effort. We are now scheduling a half-day conference for green building in which we will introduce our Keystone GreenBuilt Homes (KGBH) program, which we have been developing over the past 14 months.

AIA Chicago COTE: We have a two-day conference on green affordable housing coming up in December, we are cosponsoring with several other organizations (Susan King, last year’s chair, is working on this and knows the details about funding, etc). We team up when we can with the Chicago Architectural Foundation on exhibits they have such as the 2004 Exhibition on Chicago Green Architecture. We try at least to cosponsor whenever we can!

AIA Cincinnati COTE: Our conference/exhibition had to be split apart this year, because it outgrew the traditional date and venue. We had 40 vendors display in October 2004. Attendance was 150 students and 150 professionals. For October 2005 we had a panel discussion at the University of Cincinnati, attendance was 20 students and 100 professionals. For March 2006 we are combining with the local Chapter of CSI to give a product exhibition, this will reach potentially 500 people including professionals, students, and contractors.

AIA Honolulu COTE: In partnership with other organizations (local, state, federal, and private industry), we have cosponsored all of the above. From brown-bag seminars (at no charge) to USGBC LEED Workshops, Build and Buy Green Conferences, to mobile Green House and Green Office Exhibits to model energy efficient demonstration home and Green Building Training Programs. We have applied for funding and support from the US EPA and US DOE, State of Hawaii, County, and Building Industry, CSI, and ASID. Private sponsorship from vendors such as Shaw, local utilities, and firms also supported these efforts.

AIA Houston COTE: Last year members of COTE, along with the USGBC, worked to put together the Gulf Coast Green Conference. This one-day conference attracted over 400 attendees and was a resounding success. Planning is currently underway for the second GCGC in September of 2006. COTE also has a Green Tool Box Series that occurs approximately seven to eight times per year. These are presentations on relevant green topics that are held at the AIA office, for a fee, and participants may earn CEUs. These have been popular and are attended on average by 18–30 AIA members depending on the topic. Once or twice a year we also have a more ambitious presentation. This last August there was a two evening (4 hours each) series on green roofs. There were eight speakers, materials presentations, and a field visit to a green roof installation. COTE is currently working a PVC seminar for February that will be a three session educational event on the issues of PVC in the environment. The use of members for leaders of these various events has still been the most effective way to produce them. Some events are paid for by participant fees, others by participant fees along with sponsorships from interested industry participants.

AIA Las Vegas COTE: We funded, erected, and staffed the Ten Shades of Green exhibition, which was housed in a mixed-use building in downtown Las Vegas for about three months. Our primary income source was from a grant from the Nevada Arts Council, with donations from numerous local architecture firms rounding out the nearly $15,000 necessary to bring the exhibition to Las Vegas. We also have developed our Sustaining Nevada Lecture Series over the past two years. We typically receive a grant from the Nevada Arts Council and supplement this with local private contributions. We have had two lectures series where we brought in 14 speakers from around the country who are leaders in sustainable design. Holding frequent events helped greatly to bring locals out to see the exhibition. Many people told us they wanted to see it and procrastinated too long and regretfully missed it. We held educational demonstrations in local elementary schools focusing on recycling and green building and had the children work in groups and build models of green buildings using recycled material they brought from home.

AIA Minnesota COTE: AIA MN COTE has a booth at the AIA Minnesota Convention every year. AIA MN COTE has had a booth at the Local Living Green Expo annually since 2002. Living Green was attended by 10,000+ people in 2005. AIA MN COTE’s Education subcommittee proposed 8 CEU HSW seminars and three keynotes speakers for the 2005 Convention and will coordinate the selected programs. Approximately 600 people attended COTE HSW seminars in 2004. AIA MN COTE has several pages on the AIA Minnesota Web site. AIA MN COTE’s monthly e-newsletter is received by approximately 250 people. AIA MN COTE often tours green buildings. AIA MN COTE plans to collaborate with the AIA Housing Advocacy Committee’s on the Search for Shelter charrette in 2006. We have found that it is useful to have a steering committee that includes the two co-chairs and four other active members to plan meetings and create an action plan. This group meets every other month; the regular meetings are once a month.

AIA New Jersey COTE: A full-day High Performance Design Workshop worth 10 CEUs was recently conducted with 150 attendees and over $10,000 in profits. Partnerships with manufacturers for sponsorship, USGBCNJ for cross pollination of ideas and attendee recruiting, and planning with New Jersey Institute of Technology and AIANJ for logistics and a convenient location made this event incredibly successful. Timing to coincide with CEU national requirements also helped put a lot of bodies in the room.

AIA Ohio COTE: Our primary event was to be a major presenter and award giver at the State Legislative Day. This occurs every two years. The Ohio Valley Regional Convention (Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky) was last week. I spoke with two others on rating systems used globally/nationally/by state/by community. It was a packed house. We are taking a smaller version of this on the road to use as a vehicle to discuss the adoption of high performance rating standards later this fall and winter to all of the seven AIA components in the state. This is also part of our education agenda. We see a future need to set up a symposium for state agency leaders to both provide education and to get their feedback. We are trying to figure out if we expand it to legislators and university leaders as well.

AIA Seattle COTE: The annual What Makes It Green event has been running since Earth Day 1999. The event has evolved over the years and has included workshops, guest speakers, product exhibits, as well as the project submittals and panel review. In 2002 we collaborated with EnviroDesign and the IIDA when the event was held in Seattle. In 2003 and 2004, we collaborated with the IIDA and shared responsibility for organizing the event as well as the proceeds raised by the event. The events are entirely self-sufficient, even the local AIA Seattle staff time is considered in our overall budget. Fundraising is by volunteers and allied partners are given the choice to direct their sponsorship to a variety of AIA Seattle events. This is typically a day-long event with a day following of tours of local sustainable projects. These are very complicated events and cost about $40,000–60,000. They typically make a small profit for the local chapter. We have been trying recently to get more participation from the entire design and construction industry. It makes for a more interesting event and is really necessary to get to the ultimate goal of making better architecture.

AIA Washington DC COTE: We try to participate in most green building-related events, which are entirely funded through annual sponsorships (we never charge an entry fee); here’s the 2005 list: DesignDC—designed a booth for the local AIA conference (booth space donated by DesignDC); Montgomery County Going Green at Home Fair—staffed a booth where we talked about green building opportunities (booth cost $50); Summer Solstice—an annual event, where over 400 people from AIA, USGBC, the Sustainable Roundtable, Congressional Staffers (we are in DC), etc., attended a networking party we organized in the US Botanical Gardens (space donated by BG); FoBA—we participate in this annual event at the National Building Museum, where COTEdc designs and constructs a booth completely out of green building materials. We have also developed a game that teaches kids (and their parents) about green building. COTEdc’s 2004 booth is on the right-hand side of the lower photograph—(no charge to participate, many of the materials were donated); GreenFestival—COTEdc will staff a booth where we’ll talk about green building opportunities (booth cost reduced to $100); Solar Decathlon—COTEdc volunteering under AIA National; GreenTie—an annual networking event co-sponsored by USGBC, IIDA, etc.

Connections to Architecture Education & Students

AIA Baltimore COTE: We have worked with Morgan State University’s School of Architecture, hosting a charrette and symposium on sustainable design the year before last and providing guest critics for studios that have emphasized sustainable design. We have found it a little challenging to work with the local architecture school due to the long-range scheduling required to coincide with academic calendars established sometimes years in advance.

AIA Bucks County (PA) COTE: Hands on guest-teaching at both the secondary educational and higher educational levels. Develop positive relationships with educators. Help them teach their students about sustainability.

AIA Charlotte COTE: [We have] teamed up with UNCC on numerous activities including lectures and student juries. We are currently working on creating a student design competition and have students as well as professors from the college participate in our committee.

AIA Chicago COTE: We have local professors from local architectural schools speak to our members on different topics. Some of them have great student research into interesting topics. We are co-sponsors of events with local universities, such as the recent two-day conference Learning from the Dutch: Sustainable Waterfronts at IIT in Chicago.

AIA Cincinnati COTE: Students are encouraged to come to meetings, and the annual event is held on UC campus. We use our income stream from sponsors etc to waive the meeting fee for students.

AIA Honolulu COTE: In past years, the co-chair of the committee has been a local architecture school faculty member. Our meetings are also periodically held at the school of architecture. Some of our projects, charrettes, lectures and exhibits are co-sponsored by the architecture school. We try to involve both faculty and students in these efforts. It has been very valuable and mutually beneficial to have the involvement of the architecture schools in projects.

AIA Houston COTE: The presence of Houston COTE among local architectural schools is an area in which the committee is striving to increase involvement. We are currently soliciting sponsors among the faculty at the schools. COTE Houston is a strong supporter of architectural education and hopes to make significant improvement in participation by involving students in the Gulf Coast Green Symposium.

AIA Las Vegas COTE: [We have a] lecture series, which is held at the school of architecture. COTE members have also frequently sat as jurors for studio and competition reviews. We always post fliers all around the school of architecture weeks before each lecture and we try to remind what professors we can to encourage their students to attend. Food is a huge draw of course. When possible, we try to have our guest speakers tour the studios and give guest critiques. This is usually very well-received. We also work in concert with the architecture studies library, which videotape every lecture. LV-COTE converts this recording to DVD, and all the lectures are available for viewing in the library.

AIA Minnesota COTE: In April 2004, AIA MN COTE was a co-sponsor of the Bob Berkebile Lecture and helped to organize an Integrated Design Forum at the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA) at the University of Minnesota. In May 2004, the co-chairs presented along with the AIA MN President to an architecture class at CALA. AIA MN COTE has an ongoing collaborative relationship with the University’s Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR). In September, co-chair Doug Pierce will be presenting at the Promoting Healthy Environments for Children Conference at the University of Minnesota. AIA MN COTE will be developing a paper on toxicants of high concern related to this presentation. AIA MN COTE has found that it is valuable to create connections with professors, researchers, experts, and students at the university.

AIA New Jersey COTE: New Jersey Institute of Technology has requested several presentations from AIANJ COTE for various sustainable design classes offered in the School of Architecture. In addition, we have worked with faculty to develop a specialized certificate within the masters program in sustainable design. Making contact with an interested senior faculty has made all the difference in expanding our outreach to students and getting access to facilities and information at the colleges.

AIA New York COTE: We are in the process of building relationships with the local universities. We already have a minor relationship with the High School for Environmental Studies in NYC but that too could be further developed. This is easiest if you have a strong relationship with the administration, we’ve found that if no one on the committee knows a senior administration person at the school, building a relationship is much more difficult.

AIA Ohio COTE: We have spoken to key leaders of three of the four architecture schools so far (Ohio State, Miami, University of Cincinnati); one of our guys is hitting Kent State in a couple of weeks. But to be honest, it is so far just introductory. However, UC has since asked me to assist them on a better green design series to teach. That might start winter or spring quarter. We have also produced an introductory educational flyer called The Promise of High Performance Design for Ohio in the 21st Century. The purpose is to have a leave-behind when we meet with people. It is formatted so it can be mailed as well.

AIA Seattle COTE: The committee has previously had two student members on the committee from the University of Washington. It has not been easy to maintain this relationship; although important, the different schedules make it problematic

AIA Washington DC COTE: A couple of schools presented their solar decathlon projects. We invite schools (through AIAS, and other contacts) to our events. At our monthly meetings, COTEdc organizes a presentation on a wide range of green building topics. In 2005, we featured presentations on moveable wall systems, civil engineering, sub-contracting, daylighting, energy modeling, carpet, water conservation, and IAQ. Monthly presentations greatly increase meeting attendance.


AIA Minnesota COTE: The committee has been influential in working with AIA Minnesota to endorse three bills at the state legislature this year--a High Performance Building Incentives bill; a state of Minnesota Renewable Energy Standards (RES) bill; a Transportation Choices 2020 bill. AIA MN COTE collaborated with Minnesotans for an Energy Efficient Economy (ME3) to develop the AIA Minnesota Climate Change Policy Statement that was endorsed by the AIA Minnesota Board last year. We are now working to take the statement to a national level. We used to have a subcommittee dedicated to advocacy, but currently it is an effort by the group leadership. Doug Pierce, the co-chair, has been active in working with nonprofit leaders and the AIA MN Government Affairs committee in addressing legislative issues. We ask for updates from the nonprofits we are working with on the issues. We worked with local groups including Minnesota for an Energy Efficient Economy and Transit for Livable Communities. It definitely helps to get involved with experts on the issues and groups who are able to help with research.

AIA New York Chapter COTE: Wrote letters of support to the governor for the NY State Green Building Tax Credit (GBTC) and wrote a letter of support to the NY City Council for the local law 324A–city funded green buildings. All letters went through the chapter’s executive director and policy committee. Joyce Lee (past chair) spoke to us about writing a letter for the NYSGBTC. On our own initiative, wrote a draft letter supporting the city proposal. Yes and both measures eventually passed. The NYSGBTC was fairly straight forward–it was a refunding of a tax credit initiated in 2000. The City legislation was more complicated and was revised several times. Both letters were signed by the Chapter President (Susan Chin) as well. The NYSGBTC had a diverse group of backers. Start early with your advocacy and identify other constituency that support your views (Real Estate groups, environmental groups, etc).

AIA Baltimore COTE: AIA Baltimore has been very active in advocacy efforts. We provided expert testimony to the state legislature on High-Performance Buildings, culminating in legislation promoting LEED Silver certification for state projects. We have also been active at the local level, working on the city’s Green Building Task Force in conjunction with the local USGBC chapter. We contacted several legislators sympathetic to sustainable design and offered our expertise to help craft the legislation they were proposing. Regular communication with legislators, and once AIA Maryland voted to support our efforts we had access to our state AIA’s lobbyist. We have formed coalitions with several other groups, including the Baltimore Chapter–USGBC, Maryland Public Interest Research Group (MaryPIRG), and Preservation Maryland. We positioned AIA-COTE as a center of expertise to assist legislators, rather than as a “selfish” special interest group. We also found that it was much easier to advocate for the social and environmental benefits of sustainable design once the financial benefits have been proven to them.

AIA Charlotte COTE: We have pushed for sustainable design practices through the media by participating in local public radio forums on the environment as well as publishing articles written by COTE members in the local newspaper and business journal. We also hold an annual "green" AIA Section luncheon. The speaker and topic for the luncheon typically involve a local environmental building issue (i.e.: smart growth, public transportation, planning, etc.). We invite local and regional government/officials to this luncheon to try and educate them about environmental design issues. These efforts are coordinated with our local AIA Government Affairs Committee.

AIA Seattle COTE: A group composed of AIA Seattle COTE members and Cascadia Region Green Building Council formed an advocacy group (SDAC) in 2004. This is the venue/group through which AIA Seattle COTE gets involved in advocacy. SDAC worked with other local groups to successfully pass the Washington State high performance buildings bill earlier this year. The group is now focusing on Seattle city politics and a new downtown zoning plan. The COTE members of SDAC became frustrated when the AIA Washington PAC asked members to attend the hearing for the previously defeated version of the high performance building bill the night before. We realized that we needed to be better informed and to get smart about sustainable building politics. SDAC formed an informal partnership with Washington Conservation Voters/Washington Environmental Council and the prime sponsor in the house. During the legislative session we communicated with twice weekly meetings and numerous daily e-mails. Our sponsor Hans Dunshee and the lobbyist for WCV/WEC and the lobbyist for AIA Washington kept us informed of developments and used the group as a resource to meet with key legislators, provide information on green building, draft the bill, review changes, and lobby other regional groups. Getting involved in lobbying efforts takes a great deal of time. Forming partnerships with lobbyists and legislators who can be champions for the legislation is crucial.

Green Project Recognition

COTE operates a national project recognition program, the Top Ten Green Projects, and the national Advisory Group recommends that state and local chapters consider this program as they develop their own honor and recognition programs. At the same time, COTE is actively working with AIA to bring issues of sustainability into Institute Honors programs and other recognition initiatives. The COTE national Advisory Group recognizes that, as in other areas, state and local chapters will develop recognition programs that fit the needs of their components and constituencies, and these will take various forms. Some examples of these approaches are listed below.

AIA COTE Measures of Sustainable Design and Performance Metrics

AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

AIA Cincinnati COTE: We have an awards program for student projects at the University of Cincinnati, which we plan to expand.

AIA Honolulu COTE: The Annual Design Award Program added an Award for Sustainable Design. This has been in place for four years. Since the projects that receive awards are published in a number of local businesses, industry, and general interest publications, there have been more entries and interest in sustainable design.

AIA Houston COTE: We worked with the local chapter to establish a Sustainable Award Category for the existing yearly Design Awards program; this category has been in place for two years. Emphasizing sustainable design parameters (such as COTE Top Green Buildings) gives the award entrants options to look at their projects from different points of view and are not limiting entries to LEED registered or certified projects.

AIA San Francisco COTE: We have a green awards program. It’s funded by our utility, Pacific Gas & Electric. They run it, select judges, and we use their criteria to judge (not the COTE Top Ten).

AIA Bucks County (PA) COTE: We coordinated/supported the local Audubon chapter awards. We reached out beyond the design professionals to include developers, owners, and contractors in order to attract them to into our fold (architects were included in the awards).

The AIA Charlotte COTE: We’ve sponsored a local sustainable design award since 2001. This award is done in conjunction with the AIA Charlotte Design Awards. We charge an additional fee to submit for the sustainable award and require at least one member of the jury to have sustainable design experience.

AIA Chicago COTE: We developed the AIA Chicago Sustainable Design Award, a new award in 2004, which is given out at our annual Design Night Awards Banquet.

AIA New York COTE: We have been in discussion with the NY chapter of the USGBC about forming an awards program together. It is still preliminary. With our limited resources, our initial feeling is that our energies may be better served focusing on education, outreach, and advocacy. There is a sense that there is some redundancy with respect to green awards in New York City, since other groups are planning similar programs as well. Ideally, a joint awards program for all of New York City would be developed, if common ground can be found on the awards criteria. The AIA tends to place greater emphasis on design quality than other groups.

AIA Seattle COTE: The committee set up an annual What Makes It Green event and exhibit of regional projects. The projects are submitted by a call for entry and most are exhibited. The projects are reviewed by selected panelists and discussed as part of the event. There is no award for a project–the committee felt they had neither the resources to evaluate projects nor the ability to ask firms to submit to lengthy requirements. The submittals for the WMIG event have improved each year. This past year we did not have an appointed panel. We put the discussion of the projects out to the audience, as we felt attendees had as gained the experience necessary to give critical comment. Our event was about collaboration and it was important that the folks attending had the opportunity to do this. In the end, it was too difficult to extract that many opinions in a valuable way.

AIA Washington DC COTE: A few years ago, we prompted our chapter to name a Presidential Citation in Sustainable Design.

AIA Las Vegas COTE: We drafted a document outlining various sustainable design awards programs, which our board is (late 2005) considering:

The following options are an attempt to develop and integrate an awards recognition practice into the existing AIA Nevada Excellence in Design Awards. The options are intended to be incorporated into all the following existing award categories:

    • Un-Built

    • Built

    • Interior Environment

    • Urban Design

    • Open

    • Academic

The purpose for developing a Sustainable Design Award category is to recognize those who are incorporating environmental design into their projects and award them for being leaders in good (systemic) design. The Sustainable Design Award(s) demonstrate that good (awarded) design and environmental design equal architecture and that they are not independent of one another.

Option I Special Recognition Award

Award is not chosen by a jury, but by a team of peers. For instance:

    • AIA LV Board Member

    • AIA Northern Nevada Board Member

    • AIA Las Vegas COTE Member (Possibly Chair)

    • AIA Nevada Executive Director, AIA LV Executive Director, or AIA NN Executive Director

    • UNLV School of Architecture Professor, Engineering Dept. Professor, Environmental Science Dept. Professor, Other

    • UNLV/CCSN Student

    • Person from community

A. One (1) exceptional project receives Special Recognition

    • Awarded to the project overall that best implements sustainable design

B. One (1) exceptional project receives Special Recognition in each category (e.g. built, un-built, interior environment, etc.

    • Awarded to the project in each category that best implements sustainable design

C. Multiple awards of Special Recognition in each category

    • Awarded to those that best implement sustainable design

    • No limit to number of awards, just those that the judges (peers) feel should be recognized

Option II Sustainable Design Award

    • Chosen from those that have already been award by the jury (Citation, Merit, Honor)

    • Given as an additional award (i.e. “tacked on”) to already good design

A. One (1) exceptional project receives the Sustainable Design Award

    • Awarded to the project overall that best implements sustainable design

B. One (1) exceptional project receives the Sustainable Design Award in each category (e.g. built, un-built, interior environment, etc.)

    • Awarded to the project in each category that best implements sustainable design

C. Multiple awards of Special Recognition in each category

    • Awarded to those that best implement sustainable design

    • No limit to number of awards, just those that the judges (peers) feel should be recognized

Option III Sustainable Design Award

    • Every project eligible regardless of winning a design award

A. One (1) exceptional project receives the Sustainable Design Award

    • Awarded to the project overall that best implements sustainable design

B. One (1) exceptional project receives the Sustainable Design Award in each category (e.g. built, un-built, interior environment, etc.)

    • Awarded to the project in each category that best implements sustainable design

C. Multiple awards of Special Recognition in each category

    • Awarded to those that best implement sustainable design

    • No limit to number of awards, just those that the judges (peers) feel should be recognized

AIA Las Vegas Committee on the Environment’s proposed Metrics for AIA Nevada’s Excellence in Design Awards potential new Sustainable Design Awards. The ten metrics have been borrowed from AIA COTE’s Measures of Sustainable Design Top Ten Awards.

This proposed DRAFT is intended to be a starting point for dialogue between AIA Las Vegas COTE, AIA Las Vegas, and AIA Nevada on incorporating a Sustainable Design Awards into the existing AIA Nevada Excellence in Design Awards.

4.2. Membership

Keeping your committee membership and attendance interested and involved every month is a challenge. Even though each chapter reality is different, there are a few general ideas that have worked most of the time: Send a monthly e-mail update with calendar reminders and additional brief information. Contact key employees at medium and large firms who can spread the word throughout their organization successfully. Collaborate with other organizations in organizing events and activities and tap into their contacts to increase COTE membership and interest.

4.3 Allied Organizations

For a list of organizations allied with COTE, please click here.

This document was prepared by the AIA COTE Chapter Guide Subcommittee,
including Filo Castore, AIA; Lance Kirk, Assoc. AIA; and Kira Gould, Assoc. AIA
and reviewed by the AIA COTE Regional Team and Advisory Group


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