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EPA and American Institute of Architects Collaborate on New Jersey and New York Sustainable Buildings and Communities

Release Date: 05/12/2005
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FOR RELEASE: Thursday, May 12, 2005

(#05051) NEW YORK -- Regional representatives from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today joined forces to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that promotes green buildings and sustainable living in New Jersey and New York. The agreement is part of a larger, national initiative between the two organizations to advance the knowledge of green design and to promote sustainable development.

Kathleen Callahan, EPA Acting Regional Administrator; Susan Chin, FAIA, President AIA New York Chapter, Bruce Turner, AIA, President, AIA New Jersey and Barbara Smith Mishara, AIA, President, AIA New York State were present at the signing ceremony to kick- off the initiative.

"Sustainability is about creating a world in which our quality of life, prosperity and the environment are all in balance," said Kathleen Callahan. "Through this initiative, EPA and AIA pledge to advance the know-how to make buildings in New York and New Jersey - where we work and live - safer, healthier and more efficient."

The MOU builds on past environmental achievements of the AIA such as the Environmental Resource Guide (ERG) launched with EPA funding. This publication became a cornerstone in the early green building movement. EPA and the AIA are also working together on the national Smart Growth Network to promote community development that protects the environment while offering intelligent choices in housing, transportation, and neighborhood amenities.

"The AIA NY chapter has included green design criteria at the inception of the Center for Architecture, our chapter's new home. Its innovative geothermal system is among the most accessible in the city. We are delighted to host the regional signing of the Memorandum of Understanding to build green buildings and communities. Building towards a sustainable environment is an important goal for our Center." said Susan Chin, FAIA, President of the AIA New York Chapter.

"As architects in the most densely populated state in the nation, AIA New Jersey has always included elements of green design principles in our built environments," said Bruce D. Turner, AIA, President of the AIA New Jersey chapter. "Recently, we have encouraged our architects to create built environments centered around environmental protection and inclusion by creating Smart Growth Awards jointly with the State of New Jersey's Office of Smarth Growth."

Design and construction, while improving many qualities of human life, have a significant impact on the environment at the local, regional, and global level . These impacts occur during all building stages, from the extraction and manufacturing of building products, through siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and ultimate disposal.

Green buildings and communities create opportunities to reduce the intensive use of energy, water and materials, leading to less pollution, waste generation, as well as less disruption of wildlife habitat, the hydrologic cycle and the climate. High performance green buildings also create healthy indoor environments with high productivity through enhanced air quality, lighting quality and acoustic quality.

Last month on Earth Day, the AIA released its list of Green Project Awards nationally. This program is sponsored in part by EPA's ENERGY STAR funding. New York based firms, the Croxton Collaborative (Rinker Hall, University of Florida) and the Polshek Partnership (Heimbold Visual Arts Center, Sarah Lawrence College) , are among the winners. Future collaboration will focus on topics such as water resources, green schools, and brownfields/community development.

AIA New York Chapter is the founding chapter of the American Institute of Architects, founded in New York City in 1857. Its new home, the Center for Architecture at 536 La Guardia Place, open its doors in October 2003. The storefront location features on-going exhibits, lectures and serves as a resource center for the design community. The Institute has 75,000 members worldwide.

Related News:
AIA, EPA Working Together on Livable Communities (February 2003)
AIA Requests EPA Include Architects as ‘Environmental Professionals’ for Superfund Site Inquiries (August 2004)
AIA and EPA Sign Memorandum of Understanding (April 2005)