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Committee on the Environment

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Leading on Climate Action in the Built Environment

AIA Philadelphia’s Committee on the Environment is a band of leaders working to realize a healthy, equitable built environment. We educate designers, campaign for policy change, influence design culture, and join forces with other organizations advocating for change. We have 5 subcommittees that work to support the AIA's Climate Action Plan, the Framework for Design Excellence, Zero Waste, Environmental Justice, and the 2030 Commitment. We are always looking for volunteers in a wide-range of capacities, and we thrive on matching your interests, skills, or professional development opportunities with our Committee's initiatives. COTE meetings are held virtually at 8:00 AM on the third Thursday of each month. Anyone interested in participating is welcome to attend! Join this committee to subscribe to our newsletter!

2030 Commitment

The mission of the 2030 Commitment is to support the 2030 Challenge and transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project based, and data-driven. By prioritizing energy performance, participating firms can more easily work toward carbon neutral buildings, developments and major renovations by 2030. As signatories, firms pledge to self-report their projects’ predicted energy performance annually and to design high performance projects. AIAPhillyCOTE’s 2030 Subcommittee works to both increase the number of 2030 signatory firms and to support current signatories through high quality, tailored educational programming. AIAPhillyCOTE’s 2030 Subcommittee collaborates with 2030 WG across the country as part of the AIA’s Climate Action Plan.

Co-chairs: Roshni Krishnan, Kirin Kennedy, Shibei Huang, and Josh Abbell

Policy + Advocacy

The COTE Policy and Advocacy Subcommittee (COTE PAS) meets weekly to advocate for policy and legislation that advances the role of architects in addressing climate change. COTE PAS will promote legislation that encourages high performance, low carbon impact buildings, environmental justice, and seeks alliances with groups that share similar goals and want to advance similar policy. We strive to increase employment opportunities and community revitalization opportunities, while seeking to implement our climate change goals through codes and regulations.

Co-chairs: Brian SmileyDanielle Fleischmann

Design Awards

AIA National has defined the criteria for the AIA COTE Top Ten Awards to be more broadly the Framework for Design Excellence, with a focus on integrating sustainability into all considerations of design achievement and awards. Philadelphia has joined other large chapters in committing to incorporating the tenets of the Framework into its design awards criteria. The Design Awards sub-committee is made up of COTE members interested in helping integrate these requirements into the general design awards program. We also worked with AIA Pennsylvania COTE as well, to insure that the requirements between City and State are coordinated and complementary. In the previous years we included sustainability information as a 5-part question sheet for brief narratives and self-scoring. We adapted the AIA Framework into a spreadsheet with simple yes/no pull down questions and select metrics, where applicable. So far we are anticipating both a more uniform response from the designers and an easier tool for the Jury to use as they judge the projects.

Co-chairs: Jonathan WeissSherman Aronson

​Environmental Justice

We commit to educating ourselves more on environmental justice, its underlying racial justice, and supporting other organizations that champion this cause.⁠ Global warming and environmental injustice disproportionately impact marginalized populations around the world and within our own Philadelphia communities. We commit to use our platform and skills to improve the quality of life for all Philadelphians and advocate for a better world for all.

Co-chairs: Sophia Lee, Leslie Louie

Zero Waste

The Zero-Waste Sub-Committee is made up of nine members deeply committed to the mission of debunking myths about waste and to correcting inequity in our consumption-based culture. Our work is based on a philosophy of waste reduction and strives for the elimination of all plastic as single-use materials. Meeting weekly, we are developing resources for the purpose of educating others and inspiring change. In 2021 we will inaugurate a first-of-its kind AIA Zero-Waste Planning Guide for local and national events.

Co-chairs: Mary Ann DuffyJonathan WeissElias AgiaKatherine UrbaniakLauren PowersBrian SmileyDan GarafaloAlex WysockiEugenia Ellis

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