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Posts tagged ‘COTE’

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.

Net Zero Energy Buildings: Definitions, an Overview, and Examples

Friday, October 26


Free and open to all! Please RSVP to

We’re pleased to welcome the Pacific Energy Center to AIA East Bay this month! The California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan calls for zero net energy in all new residential construction by 2020 and all new commercial construction by 2030. Bill Burke, AIA will discuss how zero net energy is defined, and offer examples of buildings that were designed to operate at zero net energy.

About the Presenter: William Burke, AIA is an architect with more than 20 years experience emphasizing environmental issues and energy efficiency. As Program Manager at Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s (PG&E) Pacific Energy Center, Bill manages the Pacific Energy Center’s architectural educational programs and consultations, with a focus on improved building performance through good site design, high performance glazing, daylighting, and other green building strategies.

Immediately prior to joining PG&E, Bill managed the Vital Signs Curriculum Project. Vital Signs, organized through the University of California, Berkeley, assisted educators in introducing energy efficiency and building performance topics into architectural curricula at schools throughout North America. Bill practiced architecture in the San Francisco offices of HOK and MBT Architecture, where he completed numerous health care and laboratory projects.

Bill received his M.Arch. degree from the University of Oregon in 1986 and a B.A. from Grinnell College in 1976. He is a registered architect in the State of California, a member of the American Institute of Architects, and a LEED Accredited Professional.


Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of the program participants will have the ability to:

Define and describe the difference between a net zero energy building and an off-the-grid building.

List the energy goals for net energy use at the building boundary for nonresidential buildings in the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Plan.

Define the difference between site and source energy and provide one example of how choosing net zero site energy rather than net zero source energy as a goal could influence building design decisions.

Define a net zero energy emissions building.

Estimate the minimum reduction in energy use, using the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) database as a baseline, typically found in buildings operating at or near zero net energy.



Net Zero/Passive House

Friday, July 27
Noon- 1:30
A presentation of the Forum on the Environment

Prudence Ferreira will present the impacts of climate change on water availability, power service, ecosystem destruction, pose a serious and urgent challenge to the design and construction community to reach beyond a prescriptive green building approach and utilize methodologies that reliably and predictably produce dramatic energy demand reductions. As the state of California struggles with the best path to achieve the GHG emission reduction goals established by AB32, a community of practicioners has emerged that are utlizing the Passive House path to achieve zero energy targets. Learn about this performance based standard and how it is being used a springboard for high-performance residences and buildings that are using roughly 1/10th the energy of conventional buildings while providing superior comfort and indoor air quality.

Speaker Bio: Prudence Ferreira is a San Francisco-based energy and building science consultant committed to supporting low-energy, zero energy and carbon-neutral design and construction via the Passive House path., and Principal of Integral Impact Inc. Utilizing a physics-based approach to enhance energy performance, indoor air quality and comfort, she and the Integral Impact team provide energy modeling and analysis, building science consulting, education, design support and verification services to developers, building professionals and property owners, from pre-design through final certification, for residential, commercial and corporate projects.

Prudence has experience on over a dozen Passive House projects many of which are also targeting zero net energy performance. As a licensed trainer and core curriculum developer for the Passive House Institute US, Ms Ferreira teaches the Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) training and advanced Passive House technical workshops around the US and helped author of the North American Certified Passive House Consultant Exam. In addition to leading her SF-based consulting firm, Integral Impact Inc, Ms Ferreira recently served as President of the Passive House Institute US Board of Directors and currently continues to serve as a member of the board and a member of the PHIUS Technical Committee. Prudence was also a founding board member and interim president of Passive House CA. Prudence’s credentials include Certified Passive House Consultant, LEED AP+ (BD+C), Certified Energy Analyst, Hygrothermic Analyst, HERS, GPR and LEED for Homes Rater.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the Passive House building energy standard criteria and priciples
  2. Compare the Passive House approach to NZE with current CPUC Long-term Strategic Plan targets
  3. Illustrate the importance of hygrothermal analysis of high-performance enclosures to ensure long-terms durability and maintenance of healthy indoor environments
  4. Rank the effectiveness of efficiency measures and outline a process for optimization of enclosure and building systems on the path the NZE


Rooftop Photovoltaics – How to Save Money on Energy and Avoid Spending It On Roof Repairs

Friday, June 22, 2012
Free. Please RSVP to for room set-up

The use of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels has increased dramatically as have problems with the roof coverings over which they are installed.  This presentation discusses some practical ways building owners and design professionals can reap the benefits of conserving energy and avoid unwelcome surprises associated with non-fire rated systems, roof leaks, premature roof deterioration, inadvertent voiding of roof covering warranties, compromised access for fire suppression efforts, and excessive costs associated with temporarily removing and reinstalling PV panels to effect needed roof maintenance and repairs.

About the presenter: Philip D. Dregger, PE, RRC, Technical Roof Services, Inc. (TRS). Phil Dregger is a professional
engineer, registered roof consultant, author, and fellow of the Roof Consultants Institute. He has investigated
problems and provided testimony regarding virtually all types of roof and waterproofing systems since the early 1980’s.
He has special expertise in roof wind damage (hurricanes), rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV), and complex moisture
accumulation problems. Dregger has authored several articles on roof technology.

Learning Objectives – Understand practical considerations related to long term successful performance of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems (including integrated, roof bearing, and rack mounted systems) and the roof coverings they are installed upon.

  1. Protecting Existing Roofs – leaks, warranties, and durability considerations.
  2. System Design – Class C fire ratings, wind uplift on “open” arrays, and “cooling penalty” of integrated panels.
  3. Panel Installation – “Creep” of non-penetrating systems, excess heat transmission to roof below, billowing of mechanically attached single ply roof membranes).
  4. Future Roof Access – panel cleaning, roof maintenance, and pathways for fire suppression.

How the Passive House Approach is Adapting to U.S. Climates and Changing Construction Methods

Friday, May 18, 2012
Free, open to all. Bring a lunch.

May COTE presenter Mary James is the editor and publisher at Low Carbon Productions. She is the author of Recreating the American Home: The Passive House Approach and of the forthcoming book, U.S. Passive Houses: Retrofits, Multifamily and Commercial Buildings. In 2008, she coauthored Homes for a Changing Climate: Passive Houses in the U.S. with Katrin Klingenberg and Mike Kernagis. She was the editor and publisher of Home Energy magazine for 10 years.

Learning Objectives:

1. Report on the range of Passive House (PH) building types that have been created in the United States thus far.

2. Compare methods for reining in costs of using the PH approach in new construction and retrofits.

3. Discuss specific adaptations to certain U.S. climate types.

4. Examine successful strategies for creating very low energy buildings using the PH approach in mild Mediterranean-type climates, such as ours.

1.5 CES LUs