Meet SERA’s New Net Zero Emerging Leaders Intern!

by | February 18, 2020 0 News + Announcements, Sustainability

Last fall, the Energy Trust of Oregon awarded six area firms a “Net Zero Emerging Leaders” grant to support in-house energy savings reporting on their projects. SERA was one of those six! And while we’ve been meticulously tracking this data as part of the 2030 Commitment for more than 10 years now, staff saw an opportunity to improve our process – and the potential for integrating it earlier in our design process.

As the next generation of engineers and architects, the selected interns get a real-life understanding of net-zero building design in Oregon, have the chance to network throughout their host organizations, and are exposed to other career development opportunities.

We’re excited to say that our intern, Justin Tuttle, hit the ground running! With an impressive background spanning 3-D printing and lighting design, and an education in psychology and architecture, Justin also brings a passion for sustainability and how we communicate it to clients!

Let’s get to know this new face in our Portland office!

Tell us about yourself!

I’m originally from Sacramento, California. I attended undergraduate studies in Northern California where I obtained a B.A. in Psychology and emphasized in Neuroscience. After taking Appropriate Technology courses, I developed a passion for clean-tech. I started a 3D-printing business which provided prototyping and design services in my college town.

Moving to Portland, I was hired at Pacific Energy Concepts as a Lighting Designer, where my passion for clean technology and design continued to develop. After a short stint working, I decided to pursue my master’s in Architecture at Portland State University. Although, my path has taken many turns, a core theme to my interests are people, sustainability, and technology.

What interested you in the ETO internship program?

Many things. Similar to Psychology, the task of quantifying concepts such as behavior or sustainability present many intriguing challenges. Taking a building systems course, co-instructed by SERA’s David Posada, I was exposed to methodologies and technology that I’d been waiting to learn since starting graduate school.

I believe a catalyst for progressing sustainable practices involves the psychology around the topics and the conversations that manifest. I’m also interested in how learning software and technology can benefit design communication and help inform clients. I believe that energy software/technology are influential tools, but their greatest abilities are pedagogical.

Have you learned anything interesting so far?

Definitely! Everything from sustainable design practices, SAP, 2030 Commitment, Energy modeling tools, energy codes, and Excel that will all be useful toward my future goals and interests. However, one of the most valuable things I have learned, not available in academia, is how “sustainability” works within the business model and AEC industry. This is invaluable information and one of the many strengths of the internship opportunity!

What’s next for you?

Obtaining my M.Arch degree and working in the field of architecture, emphasizing in sustainability and community. Professionally, I’d like to push forward with sustainable certifications, and continue learning about sustainable and resilient design and building practices. Relatedly, I want to keep on top of the software and technology that will help practitioners clearly and properly communicate this information with clients and industry.

Personally: reading, writing, playing more music, seeing my family and getting more sleep.

Welcome, Justin! And a big thanks to the Energy Trust of Oregon Net Zero Emerging Leaders program!

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