COTE Corner: Are You a Carbon Counter?

Are you a “carbon counter” in your firm? Holistically measuring the embodied carbon or CO2-equivalent emissions associated with a building’s materials is tricky — and vital to evaluating the highest-impact, most cost-effective solutions to reducing embodied carbon on projects.  AIA Virginia’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) is looking for folks who are interested in sharing best practices, resources, suppliers, and tools.

If you’d like to get involved, email Rhea George.

Are you new to the carbon accounting game? Check out the 3-part Embodied Carbon Toolkit.

Introduction to Embodied Carbon

Measuring Embodied Carbon

Strategies for Reducing Embodied Carbon

The 2030 Challenge: Goals, Design Processes and Panel Discussion

The building sector is the single largest consumer of energy and producer of greenhouse gas emissions. The 2030 Challenge, adopted by the AIA, provides a path to reducing our sector’s negative impacts and reaching carbon neutral design as the standard practice. This series will inspire architects to meet the 2030 Challenge through design strategies, efficient technologies and systems, and applying renewable energy resources.

The design process is an important element in the creation of next-generation buildings that meet the 2030 Challenge targets. Explore the design processes to produce high-performance and carbon neutral buildings, including the Integrative Design Process (IDP). Then, hear collaborative strategies that can achieve low energy outcomes, and how these strategies can be used as a roadmap throughout the design process. In particular, we will examine defining core, early design decisions such as building form and orientation.

After that, join an interactive discussion about what can often be the biggest challenge making the business case for climate responsive design with your clients.

(The course will include a mid-session break)

Earn 2.5 AIA LU | HSW

Register online.


Edward Mazria, FAIA, FRAIC | Architecture 2030, Founder/CEO

Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C | MALeco, LLC, Principal

Rand Ekman AIA, LEED Fellow | CannonDesign, Director of Sustainability

Nathan Kipnis, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C | Kipnis Architecture + Planning, Principal

Kim Shinn, PE, LEED Fellow, CxA, BEMP | TLC Engineering for Architecture, Principal, Senior Sustainability Wizard

Kirk Teske, FAIA, LEED Fellow| HKS Architecture, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Sustainability Officer


Tate Walker, |OPN Architects, AIA 2030 Commitment Chair

Anica Landreneau, Assoc. AIA |  HOK, Director of Sustainable Design,

Don Kranbuehl, FAIA |Clark Nexsen, Principal, Chair of the AIANC Triangle COTE

David Peabody, FAIA | Peabody Architects, Principal

Manoj Dalaya, FAIA | KGD Architecture, Principal

Moderated by: D. Matthew Alexander, AIA | KGD Architecture, Senior Associate, Chair AIAVA COTE Program

The COTE Corner

Looking for a way to really move the needle on green materials? Check out the Materials Pledge, an initiative being driven by A&E professionals to support human health, social health + equity, ecosystem health, climate health and a circular economy.  AIA National has set up a great series of resources that explain how materials affect our lives through these lenses. Other resources include the AIA white paper Materials Transparency: Exploring Opportunities and Risks, and the Healthier Materials Protocol, which provides clear, practical methods and tools for setting healthier material goal and criteria definitions, product selection, tracking and specification, no matter the size and scope of the project. There are even helpful case studies. So what are you waiting for?

The COTE Corner

Want to integrate renewable energy into your next project but don’t know where to start? The Architect’s Primer on Renewable Energy, published Spring 2021, has just what you’re looking for. Whether it’s a clear summary of the benefits of renewable energy, an overview of different renewable technologies, an analysis of potential applications and storage options, or a summary of options for financing, this primer has you covered. Resources include guidance for choosing the right solution for your specific project and what to do when on-site renewable energy isn’t an option. The Architect’s Primer on Renewable Energy will help you see just how easy and affordable it is to make your project renewably powered.

Our recently formed Virginia Committee on the Environment (COTE) Chapter is here to help get the word out on sustainability-focused initiatives that you can get involved in as well as on resources that you can use to make your work better. Keep checking back here each month for more tidbits.

Interested in getting involved? Email Rhea George for an invitation to our next meeting.

The COTE Corner

What does architecture have to do with climate change? Quite a lot, actually, since the built environment is responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a resource that outlines what you can do right now. In case you haven’t heard, there’s been a lot going on at AIA National around climate action in the last few years, including issuing a position statement on climate change, revising the AIA Professional Code of Ethics to include sustainability and equity, adopting a resolution for urgent climate action, making climate action one of six priorities in the AIA 2021-2025 strategic plan, and aligning the AIA Awards programs with the Framework for Design Excellence.

Our recently formed Virginia Committee on the Environment (COTE) Chapter is here to help get the word out on sustainability-focused initiatives that you can get involved in as well as on resources that you can use to make your work better. Keep checking back here each month for more tidbits.

Interested in getting involved? Email Rhea George for an invitation to our next meeting on May 18, 2021.

National Awards Deadlines Pending

The 16th annual AIA/COTE Top Ten Awards is one of the best known sustainable design recognition programs in the nation. The program recognizes projects that address environmental challenges through design that seamlessly integrates architecture, technology, and natural systems. The deadline is Jan. 23. For more details, check out the COTE Top Ten Website.

Several other AIA Knowledge Communities have award deadlines coming up as well.

Jan. 17, 2012: Building Information Modeling Awards
Jan. 20, 2012: Educational Facility Design Awards
Jan. 23, 2012: Top Ten Green Projects
Feb. 3, 2012: Small Project Awards
March 12, 2012: Justice Facilities Review