Committee on the Environment

The AIA NY Chapter of The Committee on the Environment aims to lead, inspire and educate our members towards the dual objectives of Design + Sustainability. COTE organizes many engaging activities and events which focus on leading architects, outstanding green buildings, current technologies and product research and sustainable design practices. Our efforts are based on the belief that sustainability should be an essential part of the design process and fully integrated with all aspects of a building, including form, function, site, structure, systems and construction. We work in partnership with the National AIA COTE and are supporting the AIA 2030 Commitment by providing educational opportunities to further understand our role in a sustainable future.


Under its current leadership, Pat Sapinsley and Ilana Judah, COTE developed into one of the New York Chapter's most active committees. The current co-chairs seek to continue COTE's mission to provide our members with the knowledge and tools necessary to integrate sustainability into their design practices. In the process, we also hope to encourage those outside the design community to embrace sustainability and appreciate the value of good design. We continue to build upon three goals for the COTE committee: to offer educational opportunities, foster connections and build networks, and promote our message beyond the design community to champion sustainability and good design.

Pat Sapinsley, AIA, LEED AP
Ilana Judah, Int'l Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C
2014 AIA-NY COTE Steering Committee Members

In the News

Winners Announced For the FAR ROC Design Competition
The FAR ROC Design Competition resulted in 117 unique design proposals for the resilient development of Arverne East from over 20 countries around the globe–a truly international response to a design problem that will face more and more of our world’s communities in coming years. From those entries, four finalists and six honorable mentions were selected. The four finalists each received a stipend of $30,000 to aid in further development of their design proposals, which they then presented to the FAR ROC Design Jury on October 22, 2013. After extensive deliberation, the jury selected Small Means and Great Ends by Stockholm-based firm White Arkitekter as the winning design solution. Additionally, the jury recognized F.R.E.D. by New York-based firm Ennead Architects for Leading Innovation in Resilient Waterfront Design.

Programs and Events

AIA-NY COTE would like to thank the Con Edison Energy Efficiency Program 
for being the sole sponsor of our 2013 program of events.

The Integration Series is an ongoing collaboration between the AIA COTE NY and ASHRAE. The program brings together architects, engineers, owners and builders to promote a deeper understanding of processes and systems to better design and operator better design and operate high-performance buildings. Each Integration session will consist of the project team involved in the design and installation of a specific high performance system on a project. Panelists will discuss the decision making and analysis process, design synergies and impacts, and issues related to installation and operations of the system. Following the initial panel, attendees will be invited to participate in an informal question and discussion period. The 2014 Integration program will focus on common discrepancies within the industry that lead to a “gap” between expectations and results.

WELL Building Standard: Tools for Healthier Buildings
Wednesday, February 12 
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM 

The WELL Building Standard is a new, research based protocol for buildings that prescribes technology enhancements and performance-based measures across seven categories to make the human perform and feel better. Its use can help architects to measure health impacts and design healthier building.Our panel of leading experts will present science- and medical- based research outlining how buildings contribute to human health and wellness. Discussion will focus on methods and tools to address these issues through design. Our panelists Robin Guenther (Perkins+Will), Dana Pillai (Delos Living), and Ellen Tohn (Tohn Environmental Strategies) will be moderated by Susan Szenasy (Metropolis Magazine). Watch the video.

Integration Series
Mind the Gap: Closing the Bridge Between Design Intent and Performance
Tuesday, March 4
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

For years engineers, architects and owners have been asking the same question: how will my building perform? This quest for a better understanding of how to predict a building’s energy use has led to the rise in prominence of energy modelers and their involvement in the design process. Even as technology evolves and energy models become more and more sophisticated buildings continue to fall short of their anticipated performance.The second installment of the Integration Series events will provide a snapshot of how actual data collection has helped an existing building's ongoing endeavor to reduce energy consumption. Speakers Michael Tillou (Atelier Ten), Ryan Lean (Jaros Baum & Bolles), and Michael Gubbins (Albanese Organization) will explore the various aspects of the design, construction and operation of a building that lead to gaps between design intent and performance. Additionally, they will review new techniques that can be used with energy models to better predict a building’s performance, including the PlaNYC Benchmarking Report. Watch the video.

Integration Series
Manhattan's first multi-tenant micro-grid in the making: Hudson Yards
Tuesday, April 1
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Related and Oxford (“Related”) are embarking on an ambitious plan to create a 21st century, live-work-play neighborhood at Hudson Yards, located in Manhattan’s west side. Valued at $20B and comprised of 17 MSF of residential, commercial office, retail, education, and cultural space over 28 acres, Hudson Yards is the largest private mixed used development in the US. Related did not begin Hudson Yards with the goal of creating Manhattan’s first multi-tenant microgrid, but instead, the design evolved out of the mutual, but somewhat competing goals of “tenant control” and “efficiency through shared infrastructure”, along with a new market priority for resilience after Sandy. Charlotte Mathews (Related Companies), Ryan Stecher (Jaros, Baum & Bolles), and Christopher Colasanti (Jaros, Baum & Bolles) will take the audience through the history and iterative design of the Hudson Yards microgrid.

Integration Series
Narrowing the Gap Between Energy Design, Management, and Benchmarking in New York City
Tuesday, June 3
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Do energy standards and code requirements improve actual building performance? National model energy codes for buildings first appeared in the 1970s, largely due to the energy and economic crises during that decade. Three decades later, the largest private sector energy and water use benchmarking law in the United States was released in New York City, affecting 26,000 of its largest buildings. Speakers John Lee (NYC Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability), Teresa Rainey (SOM), and Emily Small (New York Citywide Administrative Services) will outline the code development process, describe how benchmarking efforts have impacted energy efficiency retrofits and retro-commissioning decisions and explore the implications of this new scope of building energy use information on future policies. Watch the video.

Integration Series
Getting Wasted: The Future of NYC Garbage and Its Impact on Our Urban Environment
Wednesday, June 18
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

This session of the Integration series will focus on waste management issues in New York City and opportunities to render the process more sustainable, cost effective, and better integrated within the urban infrastructure. Speakers Robin Nagle (NYU/DSNY),  Juliette Spertus (Closed Loops), and Nick Dawber (Energos) will present an overview of the history of New York City’s waste stream, socio-economic implications, logistics, and environmental perspectives. The panel will explore the current impact of waste on urban and infrastructure systems and discuss strategies to effectively manage urban waste through design and new technology. Antonio Reynoso (NYC Council Member, District 34; Chair, Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management) will moderate. Watch the video.

Shifting Behavior
Wednesday, July 16
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Buildings are dynamic systems with complex interdependencies between building design and operation, climate conditions, and user behavior. Design and technological solutions alone are not sufficient to reach our ever increasing energy and comfort goals. Some estimates suggest that the impact of occupant behavior can influence energy use by as much as 30% to 50%. Is it possible to positively influence occupant behavior through design? Pratik Raval (Transsolar) will speak about parameters affecting occupant comfort and their implications for building design. John Petersen (Oberlin College) will focus on ways to engage and educate building occupants in order to bring about positive change in building energy consumption and occupant experience. John McIlwain (Urban Land Institute)will address occupant behavior from housing and planning perspectives. Jenny Carney (YR&G) will moderate. Watch the video.

Green for All - Environmental Justice
Wednesday, September 10

Wednesday, November 5

The Future of Sustainable Urbanimsm
Tuesday, December 18

Previous Events

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