News Brief

Map Offers Insight into COTE Top Ten Winners

The new Design Datamap visualizes award-winning projects and connects to deeper wisdom.

Since 1997, The American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment (COTE) has been giving its Top Ten awards to the world’s most sustainable building projects. That’s more than 200 projects with information and insight on how teams met their environmental goals. And Varun Kohli, head of sustainability and analytics at BuroHappold Engineering, wants that insight to be available to everyone.

Kohli has created the COTE Top Ten Design Datamap as “a platform that allows us to go back and look at these projects and learn from them.” The data visualization builds on prior research and makes use of the COTE database of rich, in-depth case studies. “My goal was to try to set up some sort of a framework to allow for things to happen and not let the information sort of slide. It’s not in a corner on a website, not in a book. It’s more interactive, more dynamic.”

Squares on the map represent each project, immediately showing by size and color the square footage and project typology. Users can then filter down based on:

  • project type
  • country
  • climate zone
  • site context
  • floor area
  • predicted energy use intensity
  • award year

“If I’m working on a school building in climate 3A in California, I could easily filter down and find out what were these projects doing to achieve what they achieved,” Kohli said.

Kohli has bigger plans for the design as data gets better and he receives feedback about features users would like to see. “The way I see this moving forward, it could become more intelligent,” he said. For example, users could potentially filter by strategies—like passive design or even natural ventilation.

“I am really looking for more feedback,” Kohli emphasized. He has set up a survey for users to offer their opinions and feature requests.

More on the COTE Top Ten

What’s the Secret to High Performance?

Top Ten Toolkit Helps All Projects Boost Performance

Learning from the Best: The 2019 COTE Top Ten

2018 AIA COTE Top Ten Build Community

2017 AIA COTE Top Ten Awards Emphasize Buildings That Teach

For more information:

Published November 5, 2019

Melton, P. (2019, October 22). Map Offers Insight into COTE Top Ten Winners. Retrieved from

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