The AIA’s COTE Top Ten is unique in that it links design excellence and the building’s energy performance, why don’t their other awards?
By Dan Heinfeld
Of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) major annual awards, the COTE Top Ten is unique in that it links design excellence and the building’s energy performance. Entries are judged by the Framework for Design Excellence, which includes wellness, conservation, and energy as key standards.
The COTE’s unique status raises a question: Why isn’t energy performance given more importance as a central part of the criteria for any AIA award? The AIA has rightfully proclaimed that climate change is the most pressing issue of our generation. If that’s the case, then energy performance and conservation should be at the core of any evaluation of whether or not a design is worthy of an honor.
The AIA already has the standard by which to judge the energy performance of projects: The AIA 2030 Commitment. The AIA supports the challenge, which calls for buildings to be net-zero by 2030 to “transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project based, and data-driven.”
The AIA should take this opportunity to make reporting performance data and participation in the 2030 Commitment a prerequisite to winning a national award. Taking this basic step would merge the goals of the AIA’s climate change initiatives and make it clear that the industry is united behind the 2030 Commitment.
To its credit, the AIA has been taking steps to make the 2030 Commitment a core part of its agenda. Earlier this year, the AIA’s Large Firm Roundtable published a “Countdown on Carbon” policy, requiring members to sign on to the 2030 Commitment. But it doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t even require that firms actually report their numbers. Of the more than 600 firms that signed on to the pledge, only 252 reported data last year.
Read on >>>> Source: ArchPaper Op-ed: The AIA should link awards to energy performance