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

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 energy models become more and more sophisticated buildings continue to fall short of their anticipated performance. 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. 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 an economic crises. 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. 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.

Can I breathe at Your Place Tonight?
Environmental Justice and Buildings
Wednesday, September 10
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

As de Blasio and Piketty address income inequality, it is timely for architects to look at issues of environmental justice. Are we building equally for all? Is the trend towards healthier environments leaving some “in the dust?” We wil try to address these issues on an urban and building-wide scale. Panelists Dr. Maida Galvez (Mount Sinai School of Medicine), Al Huang (NRDC), and Peggy Shepard (WE ACT for Environmental Justice) will address the medical and legal implications of toxic environments as well as tools for action against substandard indoor environments.

DESIGN! Life Depends on Us
Wednesday, September 24
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Speaker Ed Mazria (Architecture 2030) will review the progress made in the building sector since issuing the 2030 Challenge in 2006 and outline the critical role architects and designers must play in securing a livable future. Learn about the carbon emissions resolution issued this month at the UIA Congress in South Africa and the goals and results of the 9/22 UN Climate Summit. Watch the video.


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AIA New York Chapter
536 LaGuardia Place
NY, NY 10012
(212) 683-0023

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Sat: 11am to 5pm

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