Committee: COTE

The AIA Monterey Bay Committee on the Environment (COTE®)  believes that design excellence is the foundation of a healthy, sustainable, and equitable future. We are committed to working with architects, allied professionals, and the public to achieve climate action and climate justice through design. 

Our goal is to share design strategies that empower all AIA members to realize the best social and environmental outcomes with the clients and the communities they serve. We hope to inspire our community to make continued efforts in our designs that not only enhance the beauty of the built environment, but that foster sustainability and resilience.

Our focus over the past few years has been on education. Last year we introduced the Healthy Materials Pledge, an AIA Program demonstrating how architects and designers can help improve the health of the planet, and people, by giving careful thought to how they evaluate products and finishes.

This year we will continue our efforts on educating our members on the Healthy Materials Pledge through webinars. Our upcoming webinar, 17 Mile Haus with architect Bronwyn Barry, will walk you through the Passive House design on 17 Mile Drive that we toured in January. There will be a follow up tour in June of the completed project that is open to members as well as the public. In Q3 we will host Arch Nexus, a firm in Sacramento who designed the first Living Certified project in California as well as the first Living Certified re-use project in the world. We will learn about the systems they utilized in their design, to implement water-saving strategies, and how our local counties can do the same on our projects. We also plan to host a COTE Happy Hour this summer. And look for great programs coming out of AIA California in the Fall, as September is Resiliency month!

As a reminder, California architects must take 5 hours of coursework in Zero Net Carbon Design (ZNCD) in order to renew their license. Here is a link to get these credits.

 If you missed any of the programs the AIA Monterey Bay put on last year, please check out our YouTube recordings on this page. 

In 2022 we introduced members to the 2030 Commitment. Has your firm joined the hundreds of other firms across the country committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2030? In addition to signing the Commitment, firms need to put together a Sustainability Action Plan. Check out our webinar, Creating a Sustainability Action Plan, from November of 2022 on easy steps to make this happen. 


Advocacy is an important component to our work on COTE. However, we need members to step in and support our efforts. Advocacy includes knowing about local housing elements, economic development elements, design standards and other jurisdictional policies that affect our profession. Is there a state or federal bill our chapter needs to know about and weigh in on?; let us know. If you are passionate about this, please contact Libby or Celina at her email below. 


January: 17 Mile Passive House Tour 
May 30th : 17 Mile Haus:  webinar with architect Bronwyn Barry 
June 30th: Passive House Open Days
July: Arch Nexus webinar on their Living Certified office in Sacramento
September: Resiliency Month – look for programs via AIACA 

AIA Framework for Design Excellence

The Common App for Design Excellence
Learn what the Common App is about and why it is important for your practice and submitting projects for design awards. Brought to you by the AIA California.
Common App Webinar

AIA Resilient Design Toolkit

 A nice series of resources to assist with your projects:

I don’t know about you all, but I’ve definitely increased my Podcast listening! Here are some great podcasts you might enjoy:

The AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE®) works to advance, disseminate, and advocate design practices that integrate built and natural systems and enhance both the design quality and environmental performance of the built environment. 

The COTE committee needs active members to participate in our activities that serve the public and our membership. Please reach out to me if you are interested!
Contact Libby Barnes, AIAMB COTE CoChair: [email protected]
Celina Brown, AIAMB COTE CoChair: [email protected]