AIA Awards John Nichols for Contributions to Sustainability

John Nichols accepts AIA Triangle’s Gail Lindsey Award. Photo by Veritas Digital Photography.

The American Institute of Architects’ Triangle chapter recently presented the 2022 Gail Lindsey Award to John Nichols, director of energy analytics and informed design at Moseley Architects. The accolade recognizes his significant contributions to the culture of sustainable design within the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill areas. John is the first recipient in the award’s history who does not practice architecture.

“With this award, we wanted to specifically recognize John’s commitment to sustainable education and collaboration, in addition to his success on individual projects,” said jury member Julia Janaro, AIA.

Sustainability is the through line of his career that began nearly two decades ago in Paraguay where he was an agroforestry extension agent for the Peace Corps. In 2007, he joined Moseley Architects as a sustainability coordinator. For the following six years, he provided LEED, energy efficiency and sustainable design services for the firm’s clients in North Carolina and South Carolina.

In 2013, he became the Moseley Architects’ first energy analytics specialist, focusing exclusively on energy performance services that would meet a growing demand from the firm’s wide-ranging client base. The new position allowed him to collaborate with designers in every project phase, from performing energy benchmarking studies early in the design process to identifying operational improvements post-occupancy. He also monitored and improved the energy performance of the firmwide design portfolio, leading to Moseley Architects’ adoption of the AIA 2030 Commitment.

Architects, engineers, firm leaders and community leaders have increasingly relied on John’s expertise to inform key decisions. Since becoming Moseley Architects’ first director of energy analytics in 2016, he has pioneered the firm’s energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies, and achieved measurable successes. He has helped owners of nearly four dozen buildings achieve the Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR rating. Clients have received nearly $2 million in utility rebates that John has pursued on their behalf. The firm’s achievements under John’s leadership have earned it the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award in 2018 and 2021.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, John’s devotion extends to his local community, where he served as vice chair for the Town of Cary’s Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board. He has a long-standing relationship with the North Carolina State University College of Design, where he assists design students with many of their project evaluations. He volunteers throughout the year, most recently working with Durham Public Schools on a project at their garden and outdoor learning area.