DRA SeattleComment

Lack of Daylight has Huge Adverse Impact on Health and Productivity.

DRA SeattleComment
Lack of Daylight has Huge Adverse Impact on Health and Productivity.

To begin, We’d like to reference Seattle Downtown Design Guideline A1-d:

Develop an architectural concept and compose the building’s massing in response to geographic conditions and patterns of urban form found nearby,” …in a manner that provides “access to sunlight—seasonally or at particular times of day.”

The lack of natural light is known to cause all sorts of health issues, including reduced alertness, ability to concentrate, sleep issues, mental anxiety, depression, and even death from cancer or suicide.

As we’ve noted in previous posts, the applicant for the 5th & Virginia project did a seriously flawed daylighting study (Page 33 of the EDG2 Meeting Booklet). It only showed diluted daylight autonomy averages for the entire floors, and no daylight data was provided to show before-and-after conditions.

So the Escala Owner's Association hired a nationally recognized daylighting expert, UW Professor Joel Loveland, co-founder of the Integrated Design Lab, to independently study the these study omissions.

Professor Loveland’s own modeling and analysis reveals devastating impacts to natural daylight to Escala alley side residents:

As depicted above, at the fifth floor where there are only alley views, residents will see their daylight reduced by more than 75%.  This means during daylight hours these alley side units will only rarely be able to turn OFF their electric lights.

And worse, some units (identified as Northeast “B”) will commonly experience adequate daylight conditions for only 12 % of daytime hours. For winter months, there would be only negligible daylight reaching these residents. 

To reduce health risks Professor Loveland recommends the following solutions to daylight deficiencies in the current design:

1.    Set back the primary west-facing building façade farther from the alley to allow daylight to penetrate the lower floor levels.

2.    Increase use of more diffuse reflectance materials on the west façade so that more daylight can at least reflectively reach deeper into the alley canyon.

Note: Despite Professor Loveland's compelling testimony, the DRB approved the 5th & Virginia  design without addressing the natural light/daylighting issue at all.

Please let Mayor Murray and City Council know of your displeasure with this lack of concern about people and adverse impacts to their lives.