Krause Gateway Center. Designed with Renzo Piano Building Workshop.



OPN Sustainability Director helps revamp COTE Award’s standards

AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE), of which OPN’s Sustainability Director Tate Walker is a member, has spent the last year reassessing ways to measure sustainable design emphasizing wellness, cost-effectiveness, and resilience. As a result of their efforts the AIA Committee on the Environment, which recognizes 10 projects that integrate great design with great performance each year, has released a revamp of the 10 measures that comprise the award.

According to the AIA, the updated COTE Top Ten measures align with these themes:

  • Design for Energy carries over from previous versions of the measures, but now asks for energy use intensity to also be expressed in terms of equivalent carbon emissions. Based on data indicating that many projects are submitted more than a year after initial occupancy, this measure invites applicants to specify not just predicted energy use but energy use measured post-occupancy. In 2016, 40 percent of award recipients were already supplying this post-occupancy data.
  • The topic of materials shows up in two measures: Design for Resources, where the carbon emissions impact of construction materials choices is quantified, and Design for Wellness, where the health impacts of materials choices are captured.
  • Design for Wellness captures a broad range of issues, from designing for occupant thermal and acoustic comfort and the provision of natural light and views to the promotion of activity for health and the selection of materials that promote rather than harm human health. This measure takes the place of one that used to be called Light and Air.
  • Design for Change builds on the measure that used to be called Long Life Loose Fit while more explicitly recognizing issues around resilience, design that anticipates climate change, and design that anticipates adaptive re-use.

Find more about the new standards at COTE Top Ten undergoes an extreme makeover.