Framework for Design Excellence
Inspiring sustainable, resilient, and inclusive design
Design is not just about aesthetic components, but how buildings perform for people. The Framework for Design Excellence is made up of 10 dimensions, formerly known as the COTE Top Ten. It organizes our thinking, facilitates conversations with our clients and the communities we serve, and sets meaningful goals and targets for climate action.
The tiles below provide an in-depth exploration of each dimension, including best practices, high impact strategies, resources, and case studies that promote climate action.
Designing for Integration
What is the big idea behind this project—and how did the approach toward sustainability inform the design concept?
Designing for Equitable Communities
How does this project contribute to creating a walkable, human-scaled community inside and outside the property lines?
Designing for Ecology
In what ways does the design respond to the ecology of this place?
Designing for Water
Sustainable design conserves and improves the quality of water as a precious resource.
Designing for Economy
Providing abundance while living within our means is a fundamental challenge of sustainability.
Designing for Energy
Sustainable design conserves energy while improving building performance, function, comfort, and enjoyment.
Designing for Wellness
Sustainable design supports comfort, health, and wellness for the people who inhabit or visit buildings.
Designing for Resources
Sustainable design includes the informed selection of materials and products to reduce product-cycle environmental impacts while enhancing building performance
Designing for Change
Reuse, adaptability, and resilience are essential to sustainable design, which seeks to maintain and enhance usability, functionality, and value over time.
Designing for Discovery
Has the building performed in ways that matched expectations during design?