The East Link light rail extension will provide fast and frequent transit service to connect the cities of Seattle, Bellevue, and Redmond. Sound Transit established environmental policies for its projects and operations over a decade ago, and requires all projects to complete their custom sustainability checklist; however, East Link is the first project on which the agency also required the Final Design team to conduct sustainability workshops in early design, to identify priority sustainability strategies beyond those required in the checklist.
O’Brien & Company currently serves as technical lead for sustainability on the H-J-H Final Design team. O’Brien collaborated with agency and H-J-H staff to plan and facilitate those sustainability charrettes as a first step in a more integrated design process. These two half-day, inter-disciplinary design workshops produced unique sustainability priorities and potential strategies, identified and agreed upon by a group of over 50 stakeholders. The resulting priorities included advanced water management, renewable energy, sustainable contracting and construction practices, and third-party certification standards (SITES, Envision, Salmon Safe). Following the workshops, O’Brien and the H-J-H analyzed select number of strategies within these priorities based on environmental and social benefit, total cost of ownership, and cost-effectiveness for consideration by the Sound Transit sustainability team and upper management. O’Brien staff also coordinated with local government staff from the cities of Bellevue and Redmond to ensure that strategy design assumptions conformed to local codes and requirements. High-value strategies were evaluated further for inclusion into the final design.
In addition to this process, O’Brien also has primary responsibility for assessing and integrating existing sustainability design criteria in the Sound Transit checklist into the final design, as well as selecting and drafting appropriate criteria for the Design/Build contract RFP requirements. O’Brien has also engaged with agency sustainability efforts related to East Link, including presenting on construction and contracting best practices to Sound Transit’s Construction Management team.