At SERA, we believe that a fully sustainable workplace is the logical first step toward practicing sustainability in our projects and helps nurture a culture of sustainability. By “walking our talk” we continue to discover new ways to work, interact and create more sustainable environments. In fact, that’s our mission:

We listen. We collaborate. We envision. We iterate. We share.
We design. Sustainable placemaking at every scale.

We hope to create change that ripples out into the world.

100% Employee Ownership

SERA is committed to a greater level of employee engagement and entrepreneurial involvement than is customarily found in an architectural firm. 100% of the stock of SERA Architects, Inc. is held in an Employee Stock Ownership Trust and our employees are the beneficiaries of that Trust. Being employee-owned empowers our staff in decision-making, one of SERA’s fundamental values that serves both the long-term health of the firm and our employee-owners.


In 2002, SERA leadership went through an intensive training in The Natural Step Framework and then instigated an extensive office-wide backcasting process. Backcasting is a process that reverses the standard forecasting approach by first establishing a future vision — in our case, a fully sustainable workplace — and then works backwards to develop the steps required to achieve that vision. The lessons learned from the backcasting process continue to permeate all aspects of SERA’s culture and operations.

One of the most prominent results of this process was the creation an employee-based Sustainable Action Committee (SAC). This volunteer group helps oversee the execution of sustainable business policies, practices, and strategies for the firm. Each year, SAC throws a Sustainable Action Celebration to share the company’s efforts and accomplishments with fellow employees, clients and community members.

Work Environment

Our work environment is a direct reflection of the firm’s commitment to practice sustainability in our daily lives: we purchase 100% wind power; provide staff with sustainable office supplies from local vendors; and commit to green housekeeping practices, waste diversion, and a sustainable catering policy which includes food waste composting.

In addition to sustainable operations, SERA tracks our carbon impacts of commuting. Both of our offices were selected for their central location and robust access to public transportation. Our commute policy rewards those who opt for walking, biking, carpooling and taking transit. We support a strong bicycling culture, and we’re awfully proud of our multiple first-place titles in the Bike More Challenge!



JUST Certification

In 2019, SERA began measuring our business practices through JUST, an emerging social-justice transparency program by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). JUST is a transparency platform for socially conscious organizations to disclose their operations, how they treat their employees, and where they make financial and community investments. The core principles of the program speak to SERA’s long-standing values as a progressive, 100% employee-owned firm.

Evaluating ourselves against the high standards of JUST holds us accountable to our goals as a firm, challenging us to reflect on our practice and discover areas of growth as we seek to build a more inclusive workplace and a more equitable industry.