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Company

O’Brien & Company is a nationally-recognized consulting company committed to the creation of a sustainable built environment. Working in partnership with our clients, and drawing on a strong foundation of skills, knowledge, and field experience, the firm offers finely targeted services that result in a practical, more sustainable reality.

Our mission is to create a sustainable built environment that ensures a better quality of life for present and future generations. We believe we are successful when we create strategies that solve multiple problems, leverage existing resources, and provided added value. We respect that each organization we work with has a unique path to sustainability. As your goals evolve, ours stay the same: to provide guidance, clarity and confidence on your journey towards sustainability.

History

O’Brien & Company was founded in 1991 by Kathleen O’Brien to help the Puget Sound region build more sustainably—before sustainability was a buzzword. The firm has focused on increasing industry capacity to meet the challenges and opportunities of a changing world. As such, we bring a reality and practicality to our work that is unique among green building consulting companies.

In 1993, O’Brien & Company organized “Building with Value” – the first conference on Green Building practices in the Pacific Northwest. Since then, we have been involved in the organization and design of numerous events in the Northwest, Hawaii and elsewhere. Principals and staff regularly present at regional and national professional conferences.

In the late 90s, O’Brien & Company facilitated the development of the “Build a Better” Kitsap program, the first market-based green building program in the Northwest and the second industry-supported program in the nation at the time. Soon after, we played the same role for Built Green of King and Snohomish County, now one of the largest and most successful programs in the country with tens of thousands of homes certified Built Green. Since then many local, regional and national programs have sought our knowledge and experience to help them craft programs to transform the green building marketplace in their communities.  Our experience with the special issues present in residential construction, including multifamily building, continues to be a strength.

The firm consulted directly on some of the first green demonstration projects in the area including the Bainbridge Island City Hall, Sakai Elementary School, Central Market Poulsbo and the PSE BuiltGreen Idea Home. As the LEED Rating System was developed we helped certify some of the regions first LEED projects such as Merrill Hall at the University of Washington and the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute’s building in South Lake Union, Seattle – the first Silver LEED Core and Shell project in the US. Other high-profile projects include Group Health’s Puyallup Medical Center, first ever LEED for Healthcare project in the United States; and the Bertschi School Living Science Classroom building, the fourth ever building to meet all requirements of the Living Building Challenge.

In the last decade O’Brien & Company has grown rapidly to include a multi-disciplinary staff working on projects around the region, across the West, and in the Pacific Rim. In 2006 the firm added two principals: Elizabeth A. D. Powers and Alistair Jackson. In 2011 at the firm’s 20th anniversary, Kathleen stepped back from ownership and left the firm in the capable hands of Elizabeth, Alistair, and Operations Director Donna Trost. Kathleen continues to be involved in a Special Projects Consultant role.