Good Design is Sustainable Design

This post is part of a series we'll be featuring about the perspectives at Quinn Evans and how they shape our approach to projects and how we deliver value for clients.

At Quinn Evans, we design new buildings and reimagine existing ones with a forward-thinking vision and an emphasis on wellbeing. Designing sustainably ensures that we are accomplishing these goals and providing a better quality of life for end-users who live in or interact with our buildings. We believe strongly that good design is sustainable design.

Sustainable design extends further than embracing the latest green technologies and environmentally friendly initiatives. It has the power to transform lives by drastically improving comfort, reducing utility costs, and strengthening communities. 

“There’s this misconception that sustainability is only for the affluent, when really everyone should be living sustainably,” explains Quinn Evans architect Nakita Reed, AIA, CPHC, LEED AP BD+C, NOMA. “Sustainability makes affordable housing even more affordable because people aren’t spending all of their money on utility bills because the building is poorly designed.”

During the design process, Quinn Evans seeks to improve all elements of a building that result in a more sustainable final product. This includes improving the insulation, the windows, the thermal envelope, and documenting and verifying their performance.

“It’s unfortunate that some architects still think of sustainability as an ‘add on,’ as opposed to something that’s integral,” Nakita says. “I really appreciate the fact that Quinn Evans believes it’s the other way around.”

Quinn Evans architect Charles Sparkman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, takes it one step further. He believes that it’s an architect’s duty to the community to approach a project with sustainability in mind. 

“Through the act of conceiving—and constructing—the built environment sustainably and responsibly, we restore our commitment to our communities and to the world,” he explains.

Sustainability in Action

While working on Hyacinth’s Way, a residential project that is currently in design will provide affordable housing for homeless women with mental health diagnoses, Quinn Evans sought to create a building that improves both the community it serves and the environment it inhabits.

The project itself will serve as a net-zero energy showcase, meaning the building is designed to be very energy efficient and to only consume as much energy as it can generate via solar panels. Additionally, it will enhance occupant comfort and operational energy savings. The design process has included comparative energy modeling and a renewable energy analysis with findings that help optimize the performance for this project and inform our understanding of successful strategies for future projects. 

“Future-forward definitely comes to mind in terms of sustainability,” Quinn Evans designer Jay Ranaweera, AIA, explains. “Residential projects have an opportunity to create sustainable and environmentally-conscious design solutions that are very energy efficient.”

Quinn Evans maintains a commitment to not only finding the best solutions for right now, but also for the future. Through revitalizing buildings and future-proofing them with sustainable design, Quinn Evans views each project as a catalyst for positive impact.

What comes next?

We are looking forward to sharing more about the perspectives and people at Quinn Evans in the coming months, featuring unique projects that fall outside of the expected realm of traditional architecture. We hope you’ll tune back in!