Sophie Studios

Seattle, WA

Sophie Studios is a 4-Star, Built Green® property located just blocks from the University of Washington’s main entrance


  • Exceeds the City of Seattle’s 0.50 Green Factor requirement by 10%
  • Central high efficiency domestic hot water system
  • Highly efficient flow and flush fixtures
  • ENERGY STAR® compact refrigerators
  • Efficient lighting design
  • Drought tolerant landscape plantings

This 42-unit congregate housing project has become a community in and of itself, providing individual units coupled with common areas to create an efficient use of space, materials, and energy.  O’Brien360 worked closely with the contractor to ensure the project sustainability goals were achieved through design integration and construction verification.

Sophie Studios is located within blocks of numerous amenities and services; and local and regional transportation service, allowing for easy access by foot or bike.  The project exceeds the City of Seattle’s 0.50 Green Factor requirement by 10%. All landscape plantings are drought tolerant and no turf was used.  The roof water is collected into a bio-retention planter at the front of the building that can handle typical rain events, rather than sending stormwater to the sewer system.  Additional water conservation is achieved with highly efficient flow and flush fixtures, and clothes washers, which use less water and energy.

The predicted annual energy performance rating for the Sophie project was 26.1% better than the Built Green baseline. 


Initial analysis of the first fall and winter of operation at full capacity indicates actual performance will surpass this estimate. The project includes highly reflective materials on 100% of the roof; a conservative window-to-wall ratio (WWR); U-0.26 windows; roof truss energy heels and R-49 insulation in roof; intermediate framing in the walls; efficient lighting design and lamps; central high efficiency domestic hot water system; ENERGY STAR® compact refrigerators and whole house fans; and shared kitchen and laundry for the entire building.  During construction, O’Brien360 provided in-field verification for Built Green certification, which led to identifying issues with air-sealing and insulation installation that were remedied early.  Through education and building capacity with the installers, these issues were avoided throughout construction, leading to improved energy performance and greater building durability.  In addition, lessons learned on how the framing could be changed to provide easy access during the insulation install will benefit neighboring sister projects.