Making Change: SERA's Lisa Petterson on LEED-ing the way
By Mark Feldman with SERA's Lisa Petterson
Lisa Petterson is co-founder and director of SERA’s Sustainability Resources Group.
Editor's note: This is part of an interview series called Making Change. The interviews by Mark Feldman will explore the specifics of how change happens through conversations with a range of sustainability leaders.
Lisa Petterson is co-founder and director of SERA’s Sustainability Resources Group. She joined SERA in 2002 and has 25 years of experience working on green building projects, with particular expertise in lighting and daylighting. Currently she is working on net-zero energy buildings and climate responsive design. Founded in 1968 SERA has become a leader in green architecture and sustainable design.
Mark Feldman: How do you explain your success?
Lisa Petterson: The biggest thing that we’ve had success with is meeting people where they’re at and then taking them incrementally beyond that. Not every client is ready for a Living Building and it’s not appropriate for every site.
For example, we worked with a developer to renovate and adaptively reuse the historic Meier & Frank Building. It’s a beautiful, historic building on Pioneer Square. We put together a proposal to receive Portland Development Commission funding to turn the unused upper half of the building into an upscale hotel, the Nines, and consolidate Macy’s department store into the lower floors. PDC requires that all development they fund get at least LEED Silver certification, but this developer hadn’t done LEED projects before. They were worried the LEED process would add time and money to the project, but mostly they were concerned that it might compromise the guest’s experience. We stressed that we understand who you are and what’s important to your brand and that we’ll help you achieve the LEED requirement without negative consequences.
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