Denny Substation

Denny Substation

Involving community in the design for the “world’s coolest substation”

Involving community in the design for the “world’s coolest substation”


Seattle, WA


Seattle City Light


  • Event planning and strategy

  • Branding and materials development

  • Race and social justice and Title VI Outreach

  • Open houses and drop-In sessions

  • Advisory group facilitation

  • Correspondence

  • Presentations and briefings

  • Community tabling

  • EIS outreach and public hearings

  • Online public meetings

  • Door-to-door outreach and fieldwork

  • Media (social and traditional)

  • Policymaker engagement

“On behalf of the Denny Substation Taskforce, we would like to compliment the team for the attention they gave (and continue to give) to the neighborhood. ”

-South Lake Union Denny Substation Taskforce

Project description:

Seattle City Light (SCL) is the tenth-largest publicly owned utility in the nation, serving 780,000 residential and commercial customers in the city of Seattle and eight adjacent jurisdictions. Responding to rapid growth and increased demand, City Light decided to build its first substation in over 30 years. This substation is critical to achieving Seattle City Light’s strategic plan, meeting City of Seattle economic development goals, and ensuring reliable power through the twenty-first century. S&A was hired by City Light and its design team to plan and implement a comprehensive communications and public outreach effort from preliminary through final design, which was substantially complete in early 2017.


The S&A Denny Substation public involvement team conducted a robust and inclusive outreach effort focused on understanding community priorities and needs. A collaborative community-centered design process resulted in the seamless integration of the substation into the surrounding neighborhood. By the numbers, the project included:

  • 50 community presentations and 150 one-on-one briefings
  • 4 open houses and 2 EIS public hearings
  • 4 City Council and 5 Design Commission briefings
  • 55,000+ website views
  • 45 media stories
  • 125 email updates sent to over 1,000 project email subscribers
  • 15 partnerships with community-based organizations to promote events
  • 30 organizations participating in a community sounding board
  • 11 topic sheets, 1 fact sheet, and FAQ in a Denny Substation Stakeholder Toolkit


Summit Award – PRSA Puget Sound Chapter
Public Relations Programs: Community Relations (2018)

Summit Award – PRSA Puget Sound Chapter
Public Relations Component: Graphic Illustration (2018)

National Best of the Best Energy Project (2019) – Engineering News-Record