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Organizations Allied with COTE

AIA COTE/USGBC Relationship

COTE supports LEED and considers the USGBC to be an important partner with many shared goals. To that end, COTE encourages local chapters to partner with local USGBC chapters to co-sponsor events and other collaborations. In small or geographically dispersed communities, the groups may overlap or even merge; it may make sense to blend the groups. Given the different missions, COTE recommends keeping the groups distinct, even if they work closely on a regular basis. The COTE national advisory group continues to work with USGBC to refine the relationship and seeks ways to partner effectively at all levels.

AIA New York (City) COTE
: We’ve worked very well together. There are many cross-over people, but typically active in one group or the other. We have co-sponsored events together in the past, but not typical. We sometimes compete for speakers. They have a different goal with a limited focus. In NYC, the GBC Chapter is also more focused on engineering and less on design due to the membership base.

AIA Houston COTE
: We have stayed separate from the USGBC local chapter, understanding that LEED is not the end all, we try to educate about the reasons why it is important to build green and take the focus off the checklist mentality. We do collaborate on events with the USGBC from time to time, like our recent tour. Some in our membership have said they want a focus on green architecture for architects, and if issues like liability come up, they don’t want to discuss that in front of contractors and folks from other building sectors. Our local USGBC chapter is a great group, but we realize that there are many more roads to sustainability than LEED.

AIA Seattle COTE
: Cascadia is a very active chapter of the USGBC. There is only been limited interaction between the two organizations, some members work with both groups. The GBC has had problems scheduling as far in advance as the AIA typically needs to meet publication deadlines. Profit sharing is always an issue with teaming with any organization. Combining resources to achieve similar visions should be an obvious match.

AIA Charlotte COTE: A USGBC chapter has formed in Charlotte this year. The biggest obstacle is that the USGBC chapter already has many more members and resources. Most of our past COTE members are active with the USGBC and are looking for ways to most effectively use their volunteer time, and this usually means working on a USGBC Committee. For the moment I foresee our COTE working on events directly related to the AIA (such as design awards and the green membership luncheon) while the USGBC chapter will take over some of the advocacy with the local businesses and government. We keep each other up to date with our plans and should work together whenever possible.

AIA Cleveland COTE: Almost all of our AIA COTE programs have been in partnership with the Cleveland GBC, including a successful charrette. A member of the staff of the CGBC is on our COTE committee and regularly attends our monthly committee meetings. We may raise money for the events both individually and jointly although we remain two distinctly separate organizations. We try to focus more on the architecture of sustainability while the CGBC is more on the LEED and technical view of sustainability. Historically, CGBC has taken the lead in Cleveland on green issues with the architects slow to join and integrate sustainability into their practices. This is rapidly changing. The Cleveland AIA chapter has been actively supporting sustainable issues, design, and technology since 1999 with a COTE committee active since 2000. Our COTE creates one monthly meeting per year that have been successful in generating interest although we gather a much larger audience when we partner with the CGBC. We also have partnered with many of the other green organizations active in the Cleveland area to produce a biannual three-day symposium on sustainability, with AIA and CGBC playing a most active role (I was the chair of the planning committee of the Sustainable Community Symposium).

AIA COTE Partner Organizations

There are numerous organizations that COTE works with regularly, within the AIA and beyond. The COTE Advisory Group has been working to formalize many of these relationships and in some cases, formal MOUs have resulted (with, for example, the EPA and with BuildingGreen).

AIA Knowledge Community: The Committee on Design (CoD)

COTE has long worked closely with the other largest of the Knowledge Communities, and that relationship has been strong in 2005 in preparation for the May 2006 Architecture of Sustainability Conference and Competition as well as other joint activities.

AIA Knowledge Constituency: The Center for Communities by Design (CxD)

The center builds coalitions and works with many organizations to promote livable communities; COTE is a partner on several projects, including the Sustainable Design Assessment Team initiative. (

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers is the national professional society representing professional engineers in the fields of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. AIA has been working with ASHRAE on various projects, including the authorship of project-type-specific design guides.

Building Green/Environmental Building News

The Building Green team has been an important partner on the Top Ten for years, creating the online submission form and data collection aspect of the entry process. Each year, the metrics and related databases are refined. An MOU was signed in 2005, paving the way for closer and more consistent collaboration.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and High Performance Buildings Database

The DOE’s High Performance Buildings Database is a valuable resource for building information and COTE has long worked with DOE to bring Top Ten Green Project information into the database, a project that is ongoing at this time. DOE representatives have provided technical assistance with the Top Ten program, including participation in the expanded Technical Review component of that program.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ENERGY STAR® Program

The AIA has an MOU with the EPA (signed in 2004), which has ignited several significant projects (including a water conference, research effort, and more); the EPA ENERGY STAR Program also is a sponsor of the COTE Top Ten Green Projects.

The National Building Museum

The museum hosts the annual announcement of the AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects and has partnered with COTE in other efforts as well.

Solar Decathlon

AIA has been a supporter and sponsor of the Solar Decathlon since the first effort in 2002. This year, past COTE Chair Mark Rylander, AIA, was one of the judges in fall 2005 when 18 teams will brought their competition solar houses to Washington, D.C., where they constructed a solar village on the National Mall.

The Tides Foundation

The Tides Foundation awarded a grant to COTE for the Ecological Literacy in Architecture Education project and the 2005 Ecological Literacy Report. The foundation works toward positive social change, putting resources and people together to strengthen nonprofit organizations and the progressive movement.

Other Allied Organizations and Resources

This is a list of some of the many organizations with which COTE is cultivating collaborative relationships due to shared goals:

American Planning Association (APA)

The APA is a nonprofit public interest and research organization committed to urban, suburban, regional, and rural planning. The APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, promote the art and science of planning to meet the needs of people and society.

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)

The ASLA is the national professional association representing landscape architects. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship.

American Solar Energy Society (ASES)

The U.S. section of the International Solar Energy Society, ASES is dedicated to the development and adoption of renewable energy in all its forms, including solar, wind, geothermal, hydrogen, ocean, and biofuels.

Association for Community Design (ACD)

Supports community design centers with many resources, including a nationwide directory of community design centers, publications, and interactive discussions.

Building Science Corporation (BSC)

BSC is a Boston-based architecture and building science consulting firm that focuses on preventing and resolving problems related to building design, construction, and operation. Internationally recognized for its expertise in moisture dynamics, indoor air quality, and forensic (building failure) investigations, BSC is also on the leading edge of the sustainable building and community design, promoting energy efficiency and environmental responsibility within the constraints of marketable and affordable building technology.

Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES)

CRES increases the awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and energy-efficient technologies.

The Earth Pledge Foundation

The foundation identifies and promotes innovative techniques and technologies that restore the balance between human and natural systems. Through demonstration, education, and research, the foundation seeks to deliver viable models to government, industry, and communities.

Energy & Environmental Building Association (EEBA)

EEBA provides education and resources to help the residential design, development, and construction industries profitably deliver energy-efficient, environmentally responsible buildings and communities.

The Enterprise Foundation

The Enterprise Foundation has partnered with the AIA, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others on the Green Communities initiative to ensure sustainable, smart, and healthy homes and neighborhoods for Americans with limited incomes. The Frederick P. Rose Architectural Fellowship was established in 1999 by The Enterprise Foundation to promote architectural and community design in low-income communities and encourages architects to become lifelong leaders in public service and community development.

Green Building Pages

Green Building Pages is a sustainable-building materials database and design tool for the environmentally and socially responsible designer, builder, and client.

Homes Across America

Homes Across America aims to build the bridge between homebuyers, builders, designers, and technical assistance providers who have questions, ideas, and information to share about resource-efficient features and innovations. A broad spectrum of national partners has contributed to this searchable technology showcase of resource-efficient homes and contacts across the nation.

International Downtown Association (IDA)

The IDA promotes and guides the development of vibrant, healthy urban centers that anchor towns, cities, and regions, by providing information resources, news, case studies, legislation tracking, and other services.

The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is a private foundation “to promote the well-being of mankind.” A key effort is its Green Building Initiative to encourage nonprofit organizations to use sustainable design principles in their facilities.

Mayors' Institute on City Design (MICD)

The mission of MICD is to improve the design and livability of America''s cities through their chief elected leaders: their mayors. The program is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), established in 1986 and now administered by the American Architectural Foundation in partnership with the NEA and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

The NAHB is a federation of more than 800 state and local builders associations throughout the United States. This trade association enhances the climate for housing and the building industry and promotes policies that will keep housing a national priority. Chief among NAHB''s goals is providing and expanding opportunities for all consumers to have safe, decent, and affordable housing.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)

Growth management page includes recent state and court actions, publications, and a link to a database of state incentive-based growth management laws.

The Natural Step

Since 1988, The Natural Step has worked to accelerate global sustainability by guiding companies, communities, and governments onto an ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable path. More than 70 people in 12 countries work with an international network of sustainability experts, scientists, universities, and businesses to create solutions, innovative models, and tools that will lead the transition to a sustainable future.

Project for Public Spaces (PPS)

PPS was founded in 1975 to continue the pioneering work of writer-sociologist William Whyte. PPS has helped more than 1,000 communities in 44 states and 12 countries improve their parks, markets, streets, transit stations, libraries, and countless other public spaces.

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)

RMI is a nonprofit organization established in 1982 by resource analysts L. Hunter Lovins and Amory B. Lovins. RMI brings a unique perspective to resource issues, guided by the following core principles: advanced resource productivity, systems thinking, positive action, market-oriented solutions, end-use/least-cost approach, biological insight, corporate transformation, the pursuit of interconnections, and natural capitalism.

Smart Growth Network (SGN)

SGN was formed in response to increasing community concerns about the need for new ways to grow that boost the economy, protect the environment, and enhance community vitality.

Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE)

SBSE is an association of university educators and practitioners in architecture and related disciplines who support excellence in the teaching of environmental science and building technologies. SBSE''s goal of promoting and supporting quality instruction in building science is realized through a broad range of practical activities.

Sustainable Building Industry Council (SBIC)

With an active membership of key leaders in the industry, SBIC brings together design professionals, corporations, and individuals who are committed to sustainable design.

Sustainable Communities Network (SCN)

This Web site provides links to information sources related to healthy, vital, and sustainable communities. Its goal is to increase the visibility of strategies that have worked in communities and to promote a lively exchange of information to help create community sustainability in both urban and rural areas.

Sustainable Design Resource Guide

This guide, created by the AIA Denver Committee on the Environment is organized according to the 16 divisions of the Construction Specifications Institute. Each division outlines specific concerns related to the products and systems in that division, followed by product listings and information designed to help in the purchase or specification of sustainable building products.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL)

Includes links to federal, state, and local funding of conservation projects; the LandVote database of ballot initiatives in state and local elections addressing open-space preservation; urban conservation information; and information on the economic benefits of designing development to protect open space.

Union of Concerned Scientists

An independent nonprofit alliance of more than 100,000 concerned citizens and scientists who seek to augment rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking and committed citizen advocacy to build a cleaner, healthier environment, and a safer world.

University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF)

ULSF helps colleges and universities to make sustainability an integral part of curriculum, research, operations, and outreach.

Urban Land Institute (ULI)

ULI''s mission is to provide responsible land-use leadership to enhance the total environment. To increase its influence on land-use policy and practice, the institute communicates best practices and provides relevant and current information about land use and real estate development to all its members and stakeholders.

U.S. Department of Energy's Smart Communities Network

This Web site provides information, assistance, and case studies on energy-efficient, sustainable development that strengthens local economies, protects the environment, and improves quality of life.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

USGS provides reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life. USGS has become a world leader in the natural sciences thanks to scientific excellence and responsiveness to society''s needs.

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

USGBC is a coalition of leaders from across the building industry that is working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work. COTE has worked closely with USGBC since its founding. COTE supports the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System®, and several past COTE chairs have served on the USGBC board of directors. This is a key relationship that COTE is cultivating actively at all levels.


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