In 2021, each month COTE meeting will be dedicated to a different section in the ATX Climate Equity Plan:

  • Sustainable Buildings – February, March, April
  • Transportation and Land Use – May and June
  • Transportation Electrification – July
  • Food and Product Consumption – September
  • Natural Systems – October and November

Sessions that have already taken place are listed below. See the AIA Austin Calendar for upcoming events, typically held the first Thursday of each month at 5:30 PM.

February Session: Sustainable Buildings: Preservation and Rehabilitation of the Tangible and Intangible

This month we’ll be talking about the Sustainable Buildings section of the ATX Climate Equity plan, more specifically about the importance of preservation and rehabilitation. Special guests, Daniel Kietzer and Shaun Auckland will present on how buildings play a significant role in impacting climate as well as culture.

View the recording

March Session: Sustainable Buildings: Understanding Refrigerant and Water Reduction Goals

This month we’ll be talking about the importance of reducing refrigerant leakage and water usage. Special guests, Miguel Walker, Kris Ali and Marisa Florez Gonzalez will discuss how design decisions play a significant role in achieving these reductions.

Refrigerants: Through better design accommodations for integral HVAC systems, we can reduce leaks and decrease our projects’ greenhouse gas emissions. In this session you’ll learn how refrigerants impact climate, review case studies of systems that experienced failure due to short sighted design decisions, get an idea of things you can do now to reduce the impact of refrigerant leakage.

Water: Sustainable water management in this rapidly growing, drought-prone region is essential to maintaining clean water supply and health and quality of life for residents. Join us for a discussion on how building-focused strategies can promote equitable community engagement and reduce barriers to participation in water use initiatives.

This session was not recorded.

April Session: Sustainable Buildings: Embodied Carbon

This month we’ll be focusing again on thow critical material choices are to decarbonizing local construction. The Plan has set a goal to reduce the embodied carbon footprint of building materials used in local construction by 40% from a 2020 baseline, by 2030. How will we get there? Join Kendall Claus, Designer/Sustainability Coordinator at Perkins&Will and 2021 Austin COTE Chair and Martin Torres, AEGB Graduate Engineer and CLF Austin Founder and Co-Chair to learn how. Both are leading efforts towards decarbonization in their respective fields and are currently working together to develop a mentorship network in Austin.

This session was not recorded.

May Session: Transportation and Land Use: Development in Growth Corridors

The Austin Climate Equity Plan is our chance to prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis while redressing racial and other inequities in the city. The design, construction and real estate industry impacts climate and equity by what we build and where we build. This course will address challenges and opportunities of implementing the development in growth corridors goals of the Plan. Heather Houser will share insights from the Planet Texas 2050 climate initiative at UT Austin, discuss the importance of cultural knowledge and imagination in designing just climate futures for Austin. We will also be joined by Cole Kitten from Austin Transportation Department who will discuss practical implementation of the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, the updated Transportation Criteria Manual and the role of the building design and construction industry in achieving the Plan goals.

View the recording
View the presentation deck

June Session: Transportation and Land Use: Equitable Land Development & Affordable Housing

This course will address challenges and opportunities involved with planning for complete communities and increasing affordable housing through a period of major urban growth. Nefertitti Jackmon, CoA’s Community Displacement Prevention Officer and Mandy De Mayo, CoA’s Community Development Administrator, will discuss their strategies for addressing these challenges and opportunities in Austin.

View the recording

July Session: Transportation Electrification and Transportation Equity

In this session, we outline the Transportation Electrification recommendations and strategies for the Austin Climate Equity Plan and address the equity component of the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan. Transportation electrification and transportation equity are key to achieving Austin’s net zero goals and improving the health and wellbeing of the city’s residents. The speakers will discuss their involvement in developing the plans and address next steps for the city and for design professionals to put these plans into action. Resources recommended by the speaker:

View the recording

September Session: Food/Product Consumption – Community Agriculture and Diet + Zero Waste Plan

The Austin Climate Equity Plan is our chance to prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis while improving food security and reducing waste. This course will introduce the Plan’s goals for developing equitable, community-driven food systems and achieving a zero-waste future. Attendees will learn about urban agriculture, plant vs. animal-based food systems, circular processes, “Eco-Hubs”, organics composting, recycling and other initiatives to promote regenerative food and product consumption. We will also discuss the role of the design industry in implementing these goals to improve human and planetary health.

View the recording

October Session: Natural Systems: Protect, Restore, Manage

As the City of Austin grows, and as the climate changes, it is critically important that we lay the groundwork for a sustainable and resilient future. Protecting, expanding, and restoring natural systems in Austin is an investment in our community’s health, livelihood, and culture, particularly in the Eastern Crescent. The Austin Climate Equity Plan is meant to serve as a roadmap to lay this groundwork. Specifically, the Natural Systems section outlines a new, equitable approach to public land investments that prioritizes community value and focuses on providing environmental benefits and services to everyone. This course will introduce the Plan’s goals for protecting and managing new and existing natural lands, city-owned land, and farmland.

View the presentation deck
This session was not recorded.

November Session: Austin Climate Equity Plan

On Sept. 30, Austin City Council officially adopted the Austin Climate Equity Plan. The plan includes the bold and aggressive goal of equitably reaching net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 with a strong emphasis on cutting emissions by 2030. Getting to net-zero means the Austin community would emit zero greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The new plan was created with an intentional focus on engaging racially and economically diverse residents about the challenges, barriers, and opportunities facing historically excluded groups. Nearly 200 individuals helped author the plan using feedback from over 1,500 community members, including Community Climate Ambassadors. Several of these individuals have joined us this year to present the goals covered in each of the five focus areas in the plan; sustainable buildings, transportation and land use, transportation electrification, food and product consumption, and natural systems.

Phoebe Romero, the City of Austin’s Department of Sustainability Environmental Program Manager, gives an overview of the plan’s 2021 updates and what’s next in terms of implementation. If we reach all the goals outlined in the Climate Equity Plan — including Austin’s major energy and mobility plans — we could lower our current greenhouse gas emissions by 52% by 2030. But the City can’t do it alone. Addressing the climate crisis requires all of us to take action in big and small ways. Please join us to learn how you can help push successful implementation in the local AEC industry.

View the presentation deck
View the recording