Founded in 2008, Synthesis Consultants helps clients improve the environmental and human health performance of buildings, organizations, and communities. Using evidence-based approaches and an integrated design perspective, Synthesis Consultants offers research, writing, strategy, and process services to help advance sustainability objectives.
Thor Peterson is the founder and principal of Synthesis Consultants. His environmental underpinnings were laid growing up in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains outside of Seattle. Surrounded by nature, Thor witnessed firsthand the erosion of many natural assets that define the Pacific Northwest: the majestic boreal forests; the astounding migratory feats of our salmon species; the fragile Puget Sound orca pods.
Thor attended the University of Washington, focusing his undergraduate studies on environmental problems as political issues. He subsequently received a Master of Public Administration degree from the Evans School of Public Affairs focusing on environmental policy and public participation in environmental decision making.
School was followed by eight years working for the City of Seattle’s green building program, advancing resource conservation and environmental protection. Focused on the residential building sector, Thor brought together remodeling technical resources for homeowners (e.g., the Green Home Remodel guides), education and training for residential design and construction professionals, and marketing and outreach materials to raise awareness of and demand for green building products and services. In addition, Thor worked internally at the City to implement the sustainable building policy and coordinated an interdepartmental team to address indoor air quality issues.
His experience at the City of Seattle strengthened both his technical knowledge of green building and community sustainability approaches and his skills and understanding of the human factors that facilitate or impede change for the good. It became clear to him that integrated design not only helps craft better performing buildings, but also better programs and organizations.
Following his tenure with the City of Seattle, Thor joined forces with the rabble-rousers and change agents at the Cascadia Green Building Council. Sharing the title of Research Director with sustainability maven Eden Brukman, he assisted in the development of the Living Building Challenge, commonly considered the most stringent green building certification in the marketplace. This experience cemented Thor’s ongoing participation in leading-edge sustainability projects and programs.
Since launching Synthesis Consultants in 2008, Thor has helped local governments, national nonprofits, and private corporations build sustainability skill sets and develop targeted content to effect positive change. See the Work section of this site for examples.