The AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced its Top Ten Green Projects for 2009. Among them are a nature center, a k-12 school, and the headquarters for an animal-advocacy group.
The lone winner outside of the U.S., a student center in Beirut, was designed by Minneapolis-based firm VJAA, who also won a COTE award in 2008 for the student center they designed for Tulane University in New Orleans.
Though COTE is distinct from the US Green Building Council's LEED rating, the two systems frequently overlap. Most of this year’s COTE winners have also been awarded LEED-Gold or Platinum status.
The COTE program, which turned 12 this year, judges projects in ten categories, including “Energy Flows & Future” and “Land Use & Site Ecology." The Committee’s two-sentence definition of terms reads, “Sustainability envisions the enduring prosperity of all living things. Sustainable design seeks to create communities, buildings, and products that contribute to this vision.”
According to Nadav Malin, President of BuildingGreen,GreenSource magazine's editorial partner, the submissions and judging for AIA top ten was done online using the Department of Energy’s High Performance Buildings Database, which operates under the DOE’s commercial buildings program. The database is a repository of information on green buildings that, Malin says, can be used by anyone from “design team members looking at what other projects have done to academic researchers.”
Winners of the COTE awards will be recognized at the AIA’s annual convention, held this year in San Francisco from April 30 through May 2.

Editors’ note: GreenSource magazine and the COTE jury will host a reception for the winners at the AIA convention, Thursday, April 30th, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, at the PG&E, Pacific Energy Center. The COTE Top Ten will also be featured in GreenSource magazine’s July 2009 issue.