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2012 AIAS / AIA COTE Fellowship

2012 Fellowship Packet | Past Award Recipients  |  AIA COTE Website


Fellowship Summary
As buildings spew half of global greenhouse gases and climate change mounts, how will architecture firms change to address the impending crises of today? Delving into business factors, behavioral science, and organizational change, this year's Fellow will explore how firms can successfully adopt the AIA 2030 Commitment to steer their building portfolios toward lower carbon solutions.

The AIA 2030 Commitment
To truly rise to meet the energy reduction goals of 2030, we have to apply the principles of sustainable design to every project from its inception and early design through project completion and ongoing building operations–not just those projects where clients wish to pursue third party green building certification. The AIA 2030 Commitment is a growing national initiative that provides a consistent, national framework with simple metrics and a standardized reporting format to help firms evaluate the impact design decisions have on an individual project's energy performance and to evaluate the performance of designs across the entire firm portfolio.

The objective of this fellowship is to develop a minimum of three case studies evaluating how firms have successfully implemented the AIA 2030 Commitment, including the challenges they have overcome, with the goal of providing a resource for new firms joining the effort. Using the lens of organizational change, the Fellow will identify patterns that enhance successful implementation.

By interviewing firms of varying size that have joined the AIA 2030 Commitment, the student will:

  1. Identify what successful methods change the course of a firm; how and why do leaders change course?
  2. Discuss methods for staff engagement, participation, and ownership of the commitment
  3. Discuss what firm operations need to change and how?
  4. Detail effective means for project data reporting—what tools can streamline this process?
  5. Discuss how the AIA 2030 Commitment is—or can—benefit firms in terms of tracking project outcomes, marketing, etc.
  6. Identify valuable lessons the firms learned through implementing the 2030 Commitment

Work plan and deliverables
This is a three-month summer fellowship to interview firms, collect and analyze information provided by firms, and deliver cases studies in an engaging, digital format. Background reading in topics of organizational and behavioral change and general understanding of the architectural business will add to the depth of this fellowship.1

  1. Contact firms (firms and contact information will be provided) and set up interviews
  2. Interview multiple firm representatives to gain various perspectives, and gather information
  3. Identify the obstacles and challenges encountered by firms through the stages of implementation and illuminate the unique ways in which firms have addressed and overcome them
  4. Develop case studies that can serve as a tool to aid other firms joining the Commitment by answering common questions, providing a framework for implementing the Commitment in their own firms, and identifying the benefits to be gained from joining.
  5. Develop an overarching summary about successful implementation of the Commitment that incorporates realities of the architectural business, lessons learned from the fields of “change theory” and patterns gleaned from the various firm interviews.

Eligibility: Program is open to architecture students studying at U.S.-based institutions and having completed their third year on or before June 1, 2012.

Applicants are asked to submit a resume, a design concept for the case study template, two letters of recommendation, a list of courses taken that are relevant to the research, a writing sample, and a small sample of design work not exceeding five 8.5"x11" pages.

Submissions must be saved as a single portable document format (PDF) file. The file should be titled with the applicant’s first initial and last name (e.g., j_doe). The entire application file should not exceed 20MB in size. Failure to follow these standards may result in disqualification of the application. Applications are due on May 31, 2012.

All submissions should be sent to  .

Advisement: COTE members Alexis Karolides of Rocky Mountain Institute and Emily Rauch of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will serve as advisors to the fellow (with additional input from other COTE members and network contacts). The student must also have a faculty advisor from his/her university. The advisors will have regular communication with the student fellow to refine the work plan and approach, provide helpful contacts, review progress and work outputs, etc.

Compensation: An educational scholarship of $9,000.00 will be provided for the twelve-week research project based on a salary of $18.75/hr, 40hrs./week. All research shall take place starting June 4, 2012 and should be completed by August 27, 2012.

[1] Relevant books on organizational change include Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, and The Dance of Change by Peter Senge (summary at:

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