Join the VA COTE Steering Committee!

We have a few open spots on the AIA Virginia Committee on the Environment Steering Committee and would love for you to join us. Coordination meetings are held virtually on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.  Contact or for more information.

The Committee on the Environment (COTE) is an AIA Virginia Knowledge Community working for architects, allied professionals, and the public to achieve climate action and climate justice through design. We believe that design excellence is the foundation of a healthy, sustainable, and equitable future. Our work promotes design strategies that empower all AIA members to realize the best social and environmental outcomes with the clients and the communities they serve.

Visit The Committee on the Environment page here to learn more!

AIA Virginia Affirms Commitment to Principles of Paris Climate Agreement

Though the administration announced that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, AIA Virginia recognizes that the creation and operation of the built environment requires an investment of the earth’s resources — and that many planning, design, construction, and real estate practices can contribute to patterns of resource consumption that will inhibit the sustainable future of the Earth.  The agreement, signed in late 2015 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), commits the international community to fighting harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

At the June 16, 2017, Board of Director’s meeting, AIA Virginia reaffirmed its support for policies, programs, and incentives that encourage energy conservation in the built environment. “AIA Virginia is committed to advocating for resource-efficient building practices and to fostering a more sustainable built environment by helping architects gain the necessary skills and expertise to design better buildings,” said 2017 AIA Virginia President Bill Brown.

“We’re going to continue our work to raise public awareness about the role that buildings can play in combating climate change because we believe that architects can help their clients and communities build a more sustainable, resilient, and prosperous world,” continued Brown.

To see how you can get involved, click here.

HUD Seeks Public Comment

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is seeking public comment on its design, construction and technology research agenda. They want to hear your ideas on how they can meet four major goals.

  • Promote energy-efficient buildings and location-efficient communities that are healthy, affordable, and diverse.
  • Facilitate disaster-preparedness, recovery and resiliency
  • Ensure open, diverse, and equitable communities
  • Build capacity of local, state and regional public and private organization

To provide your comments, visit

Tech’s LumenHAUS Wins AIA Honor Award

LumenHAUS, courtesy Va. Tech

Virginia Tech’s acclaimed LumenHAUS has earned another feather in its much-adorned cap. This net-zero-energy house — which has garnered attention not only for design excellence but as an educational tool — has been awarded a 2012 Institute Honor Award for Architecture from the national component of the AIA. Recognized by the Society with a 2011 VSAIA design award and the Prize for Design Research and Scholarship in 2010, the LumenHAUS also took home the top prize at the European Solar Decathlon in 2010.

The house has been on display in New York’s Times Square, Washington, D.C. and alongside Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House as an exhibition, not only on good design, but as a tool informing the wider public about issues of alternative energy and sustainability.


Sustainable Preservation Expert Speaks in Richmond

Jean Carroon, FAIA, LEED AP, is a principal at Goody Clancy, a Boston-based design and planning firm.

Virginia, and especially Richmond, venerates its historic buildings. Just take a stroll down Monument Avenue or meander around the Capitol Grounds and you’ll immediately recognize that locals, and visitors alike, worship at the altar of historic preservation.  But, can our collective desire for sustainability overcome our reverence for existing architectural treasures? Do we have to make a painful choice between sustainability and history? One of the country’s leading preservation architects and author, Jean Carroon, FAIA, responds with a resounding “No!” Hear Carroon present a nuanced look at preservation and sustainability while she discusses her new book Sustainable Preservation: Greening Existing Buildings at the Virginia Center for Architecture on Thursday, March 31, 2011 from 6–7 p.m. (1 AIA/CES learning unit). A reception and book signing follow the discussion.

 Sustainable Preservation looks at the hundreds of choices that adaptive use requires architects to make— and not just for architectural icons. Carroon considers why a 1970s strip-mall supermarket might deserve similar attention. Take a look at current research assessing the environmental value of reusing buildings and the emerging technologies that make it possible — regardless of age and style. Discover ingenious ways to redeploy existing structural elements along with time-honored techniques for natural ventilation.

Jean Carroon, FAIA, LEED AP, is a principal at Goody Clancy, a Boston-based design and planning firm, where her clients have included Harvard University, Trinity Church and the General Services Administration. She has testified before the U.S, Congress on ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the national Capitol Complex. She is currently working on the renovation of over 50 historic buildings at St. Elizabeths West Campus in Washington, D.C., for a new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security.  A member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Sustainability Coalition, Carroon helped develop the 2009 Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Historic Preservation, which asserts that historic preservationists must play a role in sustainability efforts. She holds BA and MArch degrees from the University of Oregon. Her new book, Sustainable Preservation: Greening Existing Buildings (John Wiley & Sons), was released in November 2010. 

Sustainable Preservation: Greening Existing Buildings at the Virginia Center for Architecture is presented in cooperation with the Virginia Society AIA, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and Sweet Briar College’s Tusculum Institute. Admission is $5; free for students and members of the Virginia Center for Architecture and the American Institute of Architects. Spaces are limited and reservations are requested. Call (804) 644-3041, ext. 100 to secure your space.

“For many years now, the Department of Historic Resources has carried the banner of sustainability through the recycling of our historic buildings and historic preservation’s focus on reinvestment in our existing communities and infrastructure,” said Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. “We are delighted to be a sponsor of Jean Carroon’s visit to the Virginia Center for Architecture, Sweet Briar College, and other venues in Virginia to discuss her new book and the lessons of sustainable preservation,” Kilpatrick added.

The Virginia Center for Architecture is located at 2501 Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia’s historic Fan District. The Center is dedicated to developing the understanding of the power and importance of architecture through programs, exhibitions, and its stewardship of an historic landmark. The Center is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Learn more at

The Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects represents more than 2,000 Virginia architects. The Society is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the art and science of architecture among professionals and expanding awareness and appreciation of architecture among the general public. For more information, contact the Virginia Society at (804) 644-3041 or visit

The Department of Historic Resources is Virginia’s State Historic Preservation Office. The mission of the department is to foster, encourage, and support the stewardship of Virginia’s significant historic architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources.

Located on the campus of Sweet Briar College, Tusculum Institute is a historic preservation resource center, dedicated to preserving and studying the region’s historic assets within a context of environmental stewardship.