The Estelle

Seattle, WA

Affordable, supportive housing for 90 formerly homeless men and women living with serious mental illness or other disabling conditions


  • Whole building heat recovery ventilation system
  • Ground floor offices for the on-site staff
  • Resident common space including computer lab
  • A few blocks south of the Mt. Baker light rail station
  • Winner: 2018 Puget Sound Regional Council VISION 2040 Award

O’Brien360 was engaged by the owner to develop an early design phase utility efficiency analysis, illustrating the potential impacts of three different HVAC system options, as well as envelope, lighting, and plumbing ECMs. The three systems included two options traditionally used by DESC, to a new concept proposed by O’Brien360, using a whole building heat recovery ventilation system. Utility benchmarking was performed for two existing but recently constructed buildings in DESC’s portfolio. The billing analysis was leveraged to

create a calibrated whole building energy model representing the Estelle baseline design. The results of the study were coupled with incremental costs, utility and maintenance cost estimates provided by Walsh Construction to determine the return on investment (ROI) for three packages of resource conservation measures (RCMs), ranging from 15% to 40% utility cost savings.