Blog

Our Top 10 Most Sustainable Actions.. Plus One

Every year at SERA, we have an internal event to celebrate the efforts we take to make a more sustainable world. And over the years, we have had some very ambitious projects deliver on their sustainability goals such as EGWW, the Erb Memorial Union, Savier Street Flats and many others. But in celebrating our sustainability efforts at our 50th anniversary (which is this year), we thought it might make sense to look beyond our direct project victories and enumerate our efforts more broadly — internally and for our clients. After coming up with 53 items on the topic, we decided to make this a Top 10 list instead, because — well, it is well documented that everyone likes a good top 10 lists (if you doubt me, Google it).

Of course, we felt a Top 10 list did not quite tell the whole story, so here is our Top 11 list:


  1. AIA 2030 Commitment | SERA was a founding participant in the initiative. We report every year, and continue reaching for the goal of zero net energy.
  2. Sustainable Action Plan | We maintain a vision to operate sustainably and be a leader in the industry.
  3. Advocacy | Our advocacy efforts include: 1) advocates for Oregon House Bill 2080 in 2009 on greywater use and disposal 2) Participants in Oregon Governor’s Energy Efficiency Working Group in 2008, leading to higher code standards and energy use reporting, and 3) four Letters of Support for sustainability and greenbuilding legislation in 2017
  4. Office Management Stewardship | Office supplies and services are thoroughly vetted for sustainability impacts (i.e. recycled content, supply chain impacts) and we’ve seen our scrutiny change the way our suppliers market to other service firms.
  5. Sustainability R+D | SERA has contributed to three separate studies to pave the way for Living Building Challenge projects.
  6. Sustainability Education Series | Through regular internal sessions, SERA spreads awareness so our design professionals can maintain expertise in a variety of sustainability related topics.
  7. Biophilic Design Initiative | An internal R+D initiative on biophilia has provided general education on how the concept can be incorporated into design work (specific to each project) and improve outcomes.
  8. Responsible Wasters | SERA was the first non-restaurant business in Portland to participate in the commercial composting program. We also perform annual waste audits to understand our waste trends and improve waste management.
  9. Healthy Material Champions | We’re one of 20 founding members of the HPD (Health Product Declaration) Collaborative, and one of 18 founding members of mindful MATERIALS platform that provides a common platform for material transparency.
  10. Alternate Transportation Incentives | We offer employees who commute to work by alternate means (non-single automobile commuting) the option of a monthly commuter bonus or a monthly transit pass. Alternative commuting is celebrated (especially biking) and resources such as a shower, changing rooms and bike storage are provided.
  11. Carbon Offset Purchase | Through green power and offset purchases, the carbon footprint of SERA’s operations and transportation is offset, including employee commutes, work related travel, building-related office operations, and the consumption of goods and services.

It is our goal to be a model of sustainability within Portland, the Bay Area, and the architectural and design community at large. If you see something your office has the ability to copy, please do it!

If you want to know how we did it, please leave a comment below and we’ll connect!

One Comment

  1. C’mon, biking should be item 1! Not a footnote of item 10 =(

Leave A Comment