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Posts tagged ‘COTE’

COTE Happy Hour / Visioning Session

Thursday, July 20, 2017
Free and open to all. RSVP to

AIA East Bay’s Committee on the Environment is reconvening. We encourage all chapter members to attend this visioning session and help shape the future of this new group. Come prepared to share your thoughts on program ideas, discussion topics, group mission and anything else you’d like to see this year.

Photosynthetic Materials Presentation Ushers In Renewed AIA East Bay Committee On The Environment (COTE)

Bristol, UK Architect Craig White, RIBA of White Design gave a dynamic presentation to AIA East Bay members on May 4th, laying a broad-ranging and persuasive argument toward “sustainable carbon-banking bio-based material systems for the circular economy.” Their work has evolved from ModCell panelized straw bale walls to Coobio, to innovative collective financing for housing in Bristol.

Craig’s presentation was courtesy of the California Straw Building Association (CASBA) who featured him as Keynote Speaker for the 2017 Straw Building Conference that same weekend.  He also spoke at the Department of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco.

Philip Luo, AIA, invited attendees of Craig’s AIA East Bay talk to reconvene on June 22nd for a COTE Happy Hour, at which over a dozen members generated a good number of ideas to focus on. Among them:

  • contributing monthly articles to ArchNews
  • participation in the chapter design awards
  • assisting with pre-review of sustainability supplements
  • hosting design seminars on Embodied Carbon, Drawdown, Biophillic Design, etc.
  • featuring subconsultants with expertise in efficiency and sustainability
  • generating a list of top ten low carbon to-dos and tools for project analysis
  • partnering with local and national organizations
  • reaching a broader audience, and
  • branding AIA East Bay as the greenest chapter in the US

We note that our chapter is home to many firms with national recognition for their COTE and other award-winning work, along with many companies and nonprofits creating a better world located within our territory (Healthy Building Network, Green Science Policy Institute, Watershed Materials and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, to name just a few).  AIA East Bay members Larry Stain, FAIA and David Arkin, AIA are respective chairs of the Reuse and Renewable Materials task forces of the Embodied Carbon Network, with many others in the East Bay community participating.

Seventy-five AIA East Bay members are COTE subscribers and we invite all others to join us and follow both the local and national knowledge communities.  Contact AIA East Bay staff if you need assistance adding yourself to COTE and look forward to future articles and reports from other AIA East Bay COTE members.

By David Arkin, AIA – Arkin Tilt Architects

Pictured is the Nucleus Centre at Hayesfield Girls School in Bristol, UK by White Design.  The ModCell straw bale wall panels were assembled with the students at a ‘flying factory’; each wall panel sequesters over 3,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide gas; pargetting of the lime plaster finish contributes to this unique and beautiful design.

COTE Happy Hour / Visioning Session

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Free and open to all. RSVP to

AIA East Bay’s Committee on the Environment is reconvening. We encourage all chapter members to attend this visioning session and help shape the future of this new group. Come prepared to share your thoughts on program ideas, discussion topics, group mission and anything else you’d like to see this year.

Architects Oppose U.S. Withdrawal from Climate Treaty

Reaffirm Commitment to Mitigating Climate Change

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today reaffirmed its commitment to climate change mitigation and announced it was opposing the Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States as a signatory to the Paris Agreement. That accord, signed in late 2015 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), commits the international community to fighting harmful greenhouse gas emissions.


“The United States must remain a leader in the battle to cease harmful and needless practices that damage the planet and its climate, acting out of both environmental concerns and national economic interests. Instead of helping our economy, as the Administration contends, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement will put us behind our major global competitors,” asserts AIA president Thomas Vonier, FAIA.


“The AIA will not retreat from its long-established efforts to conserve energy and to deploy renewable resources in buildings. We will continue to lead in efforts to curb the use of fuels and technologies that needlessly pollute our atmosphere and harm our environment. This makes good sense economically, and it is in the best interests of those we serve: our clients and the public.


“We will also urge our members throughout the United States and the world to assist cities, states, organizations and citizen groups in meeting the aims of the climate accord.

“By adhering to our values as a profession that is concerned with human habitat and the health of our environment, we will help to mitigate the harm this decision will do to our economy and to America’s stature across the globe.”

My Architecture: COTE Top Ten

A Monthly Program

Wednesday, April 5, 2017    DATE CHANGE!
Early registration (by April 3): Free AIA members and employees of chapter member firms / $10 Guests. Late registration: $10 Members / $15 Guests. At the Door: $20 all.
Click here to register.

1.5 CES LUs

The AIA COTE (Committee on the Environment) Top Ten Awards is the industry’s best-known awards program for sustainable design excellence. Each year, only ten innovative projects earn the prize for setting the standard in design and sustainability.

The Exploratorium (EHDD), Jacobs Hall at UC Berkeley (LMS) and West Berkeley Library (HED) are all 2016 COTE Top Ten winners, and we’ve asked the CLIENTS to come talk about these award-winning projects from their point of view. Join us for our monthly program as a selection of owners and clients from these projects present and discuss how the architecture and design of the project affects, supports, advances and represents their work and the mission of their program. A wine and cheese reception follows the panel presentation.


The Exploratorium: Located in San Francisco, the Exploratorium is a public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art and human perception. The museum creates tools and experiences that help attendees become an active explorer: hundreds of explore-for-yourself exhibits, a website with over 50,000 pages of content, film screenings, evening art and science events for adults, and much more.

  • Heidi Dolamore, Director of Library Services, City of Berkeley, on the West Berkeley Library and Elliot Warren, Deputy Director, City of Berkeley, on the West Berkeley Library

West Berkeley Library: Part of the Berkeley Public Library System, the West Berkeley Library is the first Net Zero Public Library in California. In 2016 they became a recipient of the prestigious COTE Top Ten Award.

  • Emily Rice, Director of Programs & Operations, Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation

The Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation is UC Berkeley’s interdisciplinary hub for learning and making at the intersection of design and technology. From their home in Berkeley’s College of Engineering, they extend broadly across campus, serving as a welcoming hub: engineers, artists, and makers of all kinds can gather and collaborate.

Sustainable Design Excellence, a Monthly Program

Thursday, June 9, 2016
Early-bird registration (before 6pm, Wednesday, June 8): Free AIA members & employees of chapter member firms / $10 Guests
Reg starting 6pm June 8: $10 AIA members & employees of chapter member firms; $15 Guests
At-the-door: $20 all
Click here to register.

1.5 CES LUs

Sustainability and architectural design now go hand-in-hand thanks to Cal Green; how do projects exceed building code expectations to become sustainable design award winning projects? COTE Top 10 winner Marsha Maytum, FAIA joins 2016 jurors Anne Fougeron, FAIA and Larry Strain, FAIA to discuss a variety of issues around sustainable design excellence, including:

  • In today’s context, can architectural design be excellent if it’s not sustainable?
  • How are the majority of winning projects integrating sustainability into design, and is it seamless?
  • How do firms like Leddy Maytum Stacy, Siegel & Strain Architects, and Fougeron Architecture integrate and track sustainable design in the design process?
  • What do clients value in sustainable design, and how can architects show long-term value to clients when discussing sustainability throughout the scope of the project?

Our speakers will also share lessons learned and and insights on what not to do when submitting projects for design awards. A wine and cheese reception is included with the program.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation, attendees will…

  1. Be able to state at least two sustainable design elements that are seen in most COTE Top 10 award-winning projects.
  2. Be able to state at least two aspects of sustainable design in which the return-on-investment is valuable to most clients.
  3. Be able to give examples of seamless integration of sustainable elements in award-winning projects.
  4. Be able to state new approaches to sustainability not common to most projects.

Lessons From AIA Awards for Sustainable Design Excellence

In order to examine how the architectural community is evolving in regards to sustainable design practices, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) under-took an in-depth study of nearly 200 COTE Top Ten Award winning projects encompassing
almost 20 years.

The findings have been compiled in a report, Lessons from the Leading Edge . They reviewed a variety of performance measures, including energy efficiency, water conservation and indoor environmental quality to evaluate how these exemplary projects demonstrate COTE’s mission to “enhance both the design quality and environmental performance of the built environment.” The research represents the most comprehensive study of the COTE Top Ten program to date.

“Top Ten winners are an extraordinary group of case studies from the leading edge of sustainable design over the past two decades,” said Lance Hosey, FAIA, lead author of the report and a member of the COTE Advisory Group. “The projects have been studied and published widely as individual projects, but never as a group—until now. What we found is that Top Ten winners are outpacing the industry by virtually every standard of performance, but they also exemplify the integration of design excellence and sustainable performance.”

Key takeaways from report:
■ Many project examples show extraordinary performance at very low or average costs, dispelling
the misperception that higher building performance requires higher costs.
■ Projects range in size from small houses under 1,000 square feet to community master plans at
millions of square feet.
■ The average energy savings for these projects are 54% better than industry standards. In the
past five years, the average energy savings has improved to 65%, exceeding AIA 2030 Commitment targets.
■ The average water reduction is 52% better than industry standards.
■ The majority of projects are in urban locations, while less than one fifth are found in rural
areas. One third of all Top Ten winners are located on the West Coast of North America.

COTE founding chairman, Bob Berkebile, FAIA, added, “We have seen a significant transformation in how these project examples have evolved and advanced. Initially, the design teams were acutely focused on efficiencies within an individual building and in recent years they are also looking at more horizontal and far-reaching economic, ecological, social equity, public health and resilient outcomes.”

Recommendations for architecture and design industry:
■ Embrace design before technology to improve both performance and quality
■ Study best practices for higher performance at lower costs
■ Pursue post-occupancy evaluations as standard practice to understand better how actual per
formance aligns with design intent
■ Promote more ambitious adaptive reuse projects to preserve existing building stock and con
serve resources more extensively
■ Drive greater awareness of the health impact of building materials and need for better indoor
air quality

Lessons from the Leading Edge is being released in advance of the 2016 Top Ten Green Project awards, to be announced on Earth Day, April 22nd.

A special session on the report will occur at the national AIA convention in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 26, 2016.

Passive House Windows: A new ‘pane’ threshold for high performance buildings?

Friday, April 26
1.5 CES Lus
Free and open to all. Please RSVP for room setup.

Bring your own lunch!

Passive House Windows:

A new ‘pane’ threshold for high performance buildings?

This presentation will look at the influence of Passive House on the evolution of window design for the high performance building marketplace and how Passive House has created a new ‘pane’ threshold for building designers and specifiers.  PHI and NFRC certification protocols will be reviewed to determine optimum window performance criteria for our climate.   A few simple window construction details will be compared to illustrate how minor changes to our designs can have a major impact on performance.

About the Presenter: Bronwyn Barry works as a Director for One Sky Homes, a Silicon Valley Passive House and Net Zero Energy Design|Build company. She is a Certified Passive House Designer.  Her presentations on high performance windows have been locally, nationally and internationally recognized.  She serves on the Advisory Board and is a founding member of Passive House California (PHCA) and the American Passive House Network (APHN.)

Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding window performance testing protocols, how they are calculated and what they tell you about the product
  • Why Passive House and NFRC window performance ratings differ
  • How to improve the performance of your building by design, using regular windows
  • Which details matter: flashing, installation or air sealing?


How to take advantage of Title 24 part 6 in 2013?

Friday, January 25

Free and open to all. Please RSVP to for room setup.

1.5 CES LUs

Paul Welschmeyer, AIA speaks on energy conservation and the architectural practice.

Learning Objectives:

1. Attendees will be able to state basic baseline Title 24 part 6 requirements for Residential projects.
2. Attendees will be able to explain what Title 24 part 6 required construction field inspections  are.
3. Attendees will be able to state two ways to bring billable Construction Administration back into their practice
4. Architects will understand how to work with energy consultants to maximize the efficiency of their designs.

About the Presenter: Paul Welschmeyer, AIA began his private architectural practice in 1991 after a decade of experience in commercial and institutional design with the architectural firms of Ratcliff Architects, MBT Associates and Studios Architecture. 20 years later, Paul has developed his award winning practice with core strengths in Commercial, Residential and Historic Preservation work. In 2003 energy efficient design and green-building became a common aspect of the his design firm, culminating in 2010 as the first architect in the State of California to become certified by the California Energy Commission (via CalCERTS) as a Whole House Energy Rater (HERS ll). With this cumulative knowledge and experience, Paul is prepared to address the challenges of an architectural practice in the forthcoming decade.

Deep Energy Retrofits: Monitored results from 10 Northern California case studies

Deep Energy Retrofits
Friday, November 30
Noon – 1:30pm
1.5 CES  LUs

Hosted by Committee on the Environment (COTE)

Deep Energy Retrofits: Monitored results from 10 Northern California case studies

Deep Energy Retrofits aim to save at least 50% total energy in homes. This particular project goes a little deeper to 70% savings – the target set out by the Affordable Comfort 1000 home challenge . The objectives of this study are to demonstrate how to get to low energy savings and to document how to identify aspects of each home that are working well and those that are less successful so that others can learn from these pioneering efforts.

Presented by Jeremy Fisher, LBNL and Brennan Less, LBNL.

About the Presenters:

Jeremy Fisher is completing his Master’s degree at UC Berkeley and is a Limited Research Associate with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Residential Building Systems Group. He has worked in the construction industry for 16 years, is a LEED accredited professional and certified green builder. In the last four years he has managed three LEED platinum projects in both commercial and residential construction. Jeremy co-manages the group’s energy end-use monitoring of deep energy retrofits (DER) in Northern California. His current research explores how DER design, construction and user behavior influence overall performance. Additionally Jeremy is focused on helping improve the flow of information between our work and the local architecture, engineering and construction industry.

Brennan Less has been building, testing or researching high performance homes for the past six years. He has filled the roles of carpenter, construction manager, energy auditor, energy modeler, green products salesman, and building science researcher and student. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Architecture at UC Berkeley. He works in the Residential Building Systems Group at LBNL, where he manages a two year performance monitoring study of residential deep energy retrofits in California.

Learning Objectives:  

1. Learn how a variety of approaches can be used to achieve deep energy cuts in existing homes.
2. Understand what elements of projects were successful, and which ones may have been detrimental to success.
3. Grasp how to define success in a Deep Retrofit project and discover what drives it.
4. Learn about cutting edge energy efficient building practices and energy monitoring techniques.