Deep Energy Retrofit Guide Now Available

Sorg AIA 2003362A growing body of research discussing the substantial economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency has led U.S. policymakers, investors, building owners, environmental groups, and design and construction professionals to seek ways to scale up the energy efficiency retrofit market. As the energy-efficiency retrofit market develops, architects are in a position to seize a robust business opportunity by offering a new line of service — deep energy retrofits. These are retrofits that aim to deliver greater energy savings by taking a whole-building approach to energy efficiency.

The AIA and the Rocky Mountain Institute have partnered to produce a new guide that serves to not only demystify energy modeling in general, but also to provide tips and information that will help architects to better discuss energy modeling; the assumptions, the process, the tools and what the output means to potential design decisions — with their engineers, energy modelers, consultants, contractors, code officials and clients.

AIA members can access and download the guide for free.

AIA Announces National Legislative Agenda

“© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.”
© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.

The American Institute of Architects recently unveiled an ambitious 2012 legislative agenda that has creating jobs in the hard-hit design and construction industry as its top priority.

“Architects are by and large small businesspeople: ninety-five percent of architecture firms in the United States employ 50 or fewer people,” said AIA President Jeff Potter, FAIA, himself a small business owner. “Meeting the challenges our communities face — lost jobs, outdated and unsafe infrastructure, abandoned buildings and neighborhoods, rising energy costs, and distressed main streets — demands a strong design and construction industry that is ready and able to get back to work.

“If enacted, this agenda would go a long way towards putting our sector back on its feet to do just that,” Potter said.

The AIA’s “Plan for Economic Growth” concentrates its efforts on solving the four key economic challenges facing the profession:

Removing Barriers to Private Sector Lending   Thousands of needed construction projects that would employ millions of Americans are on hold because credit is still frozen. Banks, especially smaller community banks, want to lend but new federal regulations make it difficult. The AIA is doing its part to help make financing available with its Stalled Projects website, launched in 2011, to match building projects to investors. But Congress needs to do its part by passing legislation such as the Capital Access for Main Street Act, which would help prevent large numbers of commercial foreclosures and free up credit to help small business get back to work.

Saving Energy, Creating Jobs   Across the country, building owners, state and local governments and school districts want to lower energy bills by retrofitting their buildings. AIA member firms are answering the call by signing up for the AIA 2030 Commitment to develop plans to ensure their projects and practices meet far-reaching green goals. Congress can spur tens of thousands of more jobs by increasing the value of the Federal Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction by increasing it from the current $1.80sf to $3.00sf and by making changes that make the deduction easier to use by more people

Helping Small Firms Grow   Small architecture firms and sole practitioners work in every community in the country to help homeowners and businesses design better buildings. But high taxes and burdensome paperwork hold them back. As Congress looks to reform the tax code and reduce the budget deficit, it needs to ensure that tax rates on small entrepreneurs are cut while preventing efforts to penalize smaller design firms.

Revitalizing America’s Neighborhoods   Crumbling infrastructure, high unemployment and rising traffic congestion have hurt our nation’s communities, reducing safety and increasing pollution. Outdated federal transportation laws and tax policies have slowed projects down, deprived the public of a voice in the planning process, and forced Americans to spend more time in their cars. Congress needs to pass transportation reform legislation this year that gives people the ability to create and sustain prosperous communities with real choices in transportation options. The AIA also urges the administration to ensure that lending standards account for the kinds of mixed-use developments that communities need in order to bring back economic vitality and jobs.

For more information, or to get involved, visit AIA Issues & Advocacy.

Virginia LID Design Competition

Low impact development (LID) focuses on maintaining or restoring a site’s natural hydrology. Retaining and filtering storm water on-site rather than conveying it to storm sewers recharges groundwater, reduces the scouring of stream banks, and helps keep watersheds clean and healthy. This two-stage open competition—sponsored by the James River Association, Friends of the Rappahannock, Potomac Conservancy, and Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Civil Engineers—focuses on three actual sites in Virginia.

Competition entries must come from integrated teams of at least three design professionals licensed in Virginia and must include at least one civil engineer and one landscape architect. The registration fee is $100, and the stage-one submission deadline is February 17, 2012. Teams may register online.

Stage one will be scored by a five-person jury comprising:
• Civil Engineering: Don Rissmeyer, PE
• Landscape Architecture: Kennon Williams, ASLA
• Low Impact Development: Thomas Schueler
• Architecture: Patrick Farley, AIA, LEED-AP
• Hydrology: (Judge Pending)

Finalists will be announced March 4 at the Virginia Lakes & Watershed Association Conference.

In stage two of the competition, finalists will present their entries verbally and through PowerPoint to a jury of influential Virginians from the development, civic, and government communities. Those presentations will be April 12 in Lexington, Va., at the 23rd Annual Environment Virginia Symposium. The jury will select winners that same day in each of three categories. The award for each category is $15,000.

The three categories (and site locations) are:
1) Suburban Mixed Use (Fredericksburg area)
2) Urban Redevelopment (Fredericksburg)
3) Green Roadway (Arlington)

Submissions will be judged on how well they conserve natural resources, provide natural functions to control and filter storm water, and use small-scale decentralized landscape features to:
• Reduce the amount of runoff by mimicking the natural hydrologic function of the site and matching pre-development hydrology
• Minimize the use of and/or reduce the size of pipe and other centralized control and treatment infrastructure
• Lower the total cost of development when compared to traditional infrastructure design
• Minimize and disconnect impervious surfaces, lengthen time of concentration, and promote bio-filtration of runoff to improve the quality of storm water leaving the site
• Minimize or eliminate the use of potable water resources needed for irrigation and, where practical, provide for the reuse of rain water
• Use enhanced quality of life values and reduced maintenance costs inherent in LID practices to increase marketability of the development and longterm property values.

For more information on the sites and competition rules, visit the Virginia LID Competition site.

For specific questions, contact Adrienne Kotula by email or phone, 804-788-8811 x206.

Your Political Action Committee

A rousing start to the election season was generated by contributions and pledges to the VSAIA political action committee campaign by long-time supporter Gauthier Alvarado & Associates in Falls Church and relative PAC newcomer HDR in Alexandria.

Rob Morris, III, AIA, PE, presented his firm’s traditional $1,000 check to the PAC in December.  Jim Draheim, AIA, announced his firm’s pledge of $2,000 in March.  Both have combined their firms’ support with personal efforts to increase the level of participation in the PAC.  They are sending letters to their peers in several firms encouraging them to join in supporting the PAC and asking that they also encourage their employees to do the same.

Ed Gillikin, AIA, VSAIA vice president for government advocacy, and the members of the government and industry affairs committee ask that individuals contribute the equivalent of one hour’s billable time to the PAC.  They request that firms contribute a like amount. 

With all 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly open this year, the campaign goal will be to top the PAC’s previous best year of $23,630 contributed in 2006. 

The PAC supports the campaigns of those candidates who have shown an understanding of what the profession does and of how architects affect the quality of life within their communities.  If a candidate is running for the first time, the VSAIA considers its members’ evaluations.  For incumbents, the VSAIA concentrates its support on those who serve in leadership positions and those who serve on the General Laws committees in the House and Senate.  This committee reviews nearly 90 percent of the bills affecting the profession.

A candidate’s party affiliation is not considered.  Historically, the VSAIA PAC’s contributions run just about 50-50 on supporting Democrats and Republicans.  Information on past activity can be obtained from the Virginia Public Access Project website  VAPA’s home site is

It takes time to build rapport and trust between the architects and elected officials.  This is done through individual meetings among the VSAIA legislative counsel, staff and members, and the legislators. Those in office depend on us for information about the possible impact of a bill.  We depend on them to weigh that information with other sources and to reach a reasonable conclusion when the votes are taken. 

To maintain the investment in these relationships, the VSAIA needs to support those candidates who supported restricting unlicensed practice, who supported limiting by contract an architect’s liability, and who support the concept of qualifications-based selection for public projects. 

In supporting the PAC, you are supporting your firm and your ability to practice your profession.  Please contribute to the PAC today by sending a check equal to one-hour’s billable time to the VSAIA PAC, 2501 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA   23220.

APELSCIDLA Update: June-July

Draft legislation concerning unlicensed practice and continuing education was shown to architects serving on the regulatory board at their May meeting.  The architects and board staff had no official comments, but offered some suggestions.

The first of the two proposed measures aims to add flexibility to the continuing education requirements that, if passed, would put Virginia in a good position to accommodate changes being discussed at the national level by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.  The second aims to strengthen the laws identifying unlicensed practice.

Architects serving on the committee are J. Everette “Ebo” Fauber, AIA-E, James Boyd, AIA, and Michael LeMay, AIA.  Boyd was elected as section chairman for the 2011–2012 year.

In discussing continuing education, Fauber explained that the nation’s registration boards are all over the map with their requirements.  For example, Virginia requires 16 hours per biennium.  Fauber said 34 jurisdictions require 12 per year.  Most jurisdictions specifically require hours in health, safety, and welfare.  Virginia does not.  The more critical element to standardizing criteria nationally, he and Boyd agreed, was the reporting period end date. 

NCARB’s model law is being reviewed in an attempt to establish common criteria throughout the country including a single reporting date.  Currently in Virginia, the month an architect received his license is the reporting — or re-registration — date every other year.  In allowing the board to slide architects’ re-registration dates to a single date, those architects licensed in multiple jurisdictions would find it easier to manage their records.  

Delegates to NCARB’s national meeting in June will discuss and vote on the package of resolutions that includes revising its model law.

The proposals concerning unlicensed practice initially have been inserted into the list of unlawful acts that apply to any occupation requiring a license.  To the existing list of nine acts, the VSAIA is suggesting three.  These are:

  1. Entering into a contract to provide a professional or occupational regulated service or offering to provide a regulated service without holding a valid license to provide the regulated service.
  2. Advertising to provide services regulated by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation when the individual or business entity is not certified or licensed to practice the regulated occupation including, but not limited to, telephone directory listings, Internet websites, and radio and television advertisements. 
  3. Including unlicensed persons or business entities in published rosters or lists of persons who offer a regulated service where the person or business entity is not certified or licensed to offer the regulated service, including telephone directories, Internet sites, newspapers and periodicals.   

Both of these proposals were viewed earlier by the Joint Legislative Committee (JLC), which will determine how to refine the drafts prior to the 2012 legislative session.  Along with the VSAIA, the JLC comprises the two statewide engineering societies:  the American Council of Engineering Companies and the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers.

Free Membership for New Grads

© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.The Society and the AIA national component offers 2010−2011 graduates from accredited schools of architecture complimentary membership at the Associate level for up to 18 months. Some local components charge a nominal membership fee. For questions regarding your local chapter, call 800-242-3837, option 2.

For young professionals, membership with the AIA is a critical choice at a time when it feels like there are so many life decisions to make. When you join the AIA, you immediately increase your professional network by almost 80,000 colleagues. These are people you can rely on for answers and assistance, or even just confirmation that you’re on the right track.

Member Benefits

As an Associate member, you’ll have access to these and other benefits:

  • Events, activities, support, and networking opportunities through your state and local AIA component
  • Intern Development Program (IDP) support, including help finding IDP coordinators and mentors
  • Architect Registration Examination (ARE) study resources to support you on the path to licensure
  • AIA Career Center assistance to find internship and professional opportunities
  • The Emerging Professional’s Companion, an online professional development tool though which you can gain credits towards IDP
  • AIA Transcript, to track the vast offerings of AIA CES Discovery and Continuing Education Providers
  • Subscriptions to AIArchitect, the bi-weekly newsletter of the AIA, and ARCHITECT, the magazine of the AIA.
  • National Associate Committee (NAC) programs, activities, and resources that ensure you have a strong voice within the AIA, including your subscription to the AIA AssociateNews and FORWARD email publications
  • AIA Knowledge Communities, which enable you to customize your membership and network with like-minded colleagues who share your specific interests

And if those are not reason enough to join, we’re offering you an additional incentive. Join now and get free membership through 2012. That’s up to 18 months of membership at no cost!

Joining the AIA

Some local and state AIA components charge a nominal membership fee. For questions regarding your local chapter, call 800-242-3837, option 2.

Download a membership application

As part of the join process, you will be asked to provide a copy of your diploma or degree in architecture from an accredited school of architecture/program.

For More Information


*The Fine Print

The AIA offers complimentary membership for 2011 graduates of accredited schools of architecture. Provide a copy of your diploma with your membership application, and you receive free membership with the AIA for up to 18 months. Note that this promotion begins upon date of graduation and not your join date (e.g., a June 2011 graduate receives complimentary membership through December 31, 2012).

Your membership will be at the associate level until you receive full licensure and have the opportunity to become an architect member. Please note that the AIA is a three-tiered organization. Although your membership is at the national, state, and local levels, this promotional offer applies only to dues for the national component.