Meet the Co-Chair: Committee on the Environment


Sustainability Advisor and Business Developer, Iconergy Co.

Maria Agazio

This year, the Committee on the Environment (COTE) has taken deep dives into best practices, the 2030 Commitment, and a sustainability survey designed for Colorado architects. With environmental stewardship as an AIA Colorado imperative—and to learn more about the COTE initiatives—we caught up with Maria Agazio, who co-chairs the committee with Beverly Pax. Read on as Agazio brings us up to speed on the latest concerning environmental stewardship in Colorado.

What drew you to this group?

I was drawn to COTE, because my career is centered on the idea of furthering sustainability in the built environment and the idea of being able to discuss these topics with a group of architects seemed like a great opportunity.

How has this committee grown or changed since you initially got involved?

We have made progress toward communicating environmental topics more affectively with AIA Colorado members and the general public. The sustainability survey has been a major part of the group discussion and published this year. (We encourage you to take it!)

What do you think is the biggest contribution that this committee brings to the Colorado architecture community?

Resources around “demystifying the 2030 Commitment,” as well as survey results that will help us understand architects’ perspectives on various sustainability topics and themes.

As AIA Colorado strives to create a culture of belonging, what steps have you taken to reach beyond Denver?

We consistently look to other chapters to gather resources and provide resources for movement toward sustainable progress. This can also be seen by our awareness of national events and articles that are presented at each meeting.

What are some immediate and long-term plans we can hope to see from the committee?

I remain committed to addressing methane emissions, working to establish a more comprehensive electric grid. We hope to release survey results around sustainability awareness in Colorado firms, and we also hope to release a 2030 Commitment roadmap that helps firms sign and understand the 2030 Commitment.

What one thing do you wish that more architects knew about environmental stewardship?

Every building has the opportunity to add positively to its environment. It is the responsibility of the architect and design team to incorporate sustainable practices and elements into every design regardless of the overarching focus of the building.

About the Author

Taylor Higgins

Taylor Higgins, AIA, has worked in the profession for the last decade on a range of commercial and residential projects. In her 8+ years of affordable housing experience, she has gained in-depth knowledge of building codes, ADA accessibility guidelines, and the Enterprise Green Community program. She has become adept at project management and working with clients from the early design stage through construction administration. In her time outside of the office, she is likely tackling a DIY project at home, out in the garden, or baking. She is currently with the firm Land+Shelter.

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