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David Gavin is #SDLivingtheDream:
Designing for a Cause!

Monday, October 19, 2020

In this edition of our #SDLivingtheDream series, we introduce you to David Gavin, a Team UMD Solar Decathlon alumnus who focuses on sustainable design in his everyday work. Read on to find out how David is using his building-design skills to help domestic violence victims.


Name: David Gavin

Year participated in Solar Decathlon:  2011

University team: University of Maryland

Current organization/employer: Quinn Evans Architects

Current role: Architect / Associate / Sustainability Leadership Team

Gavin is an architect at Quinn Evans and a certified Passive House consultant, advising clients on energy-efficient building design.


How did participation in the Solar Decathlon affect the trajectory of your career?

The Solar Decathlon was the first experience that showed me sustainable design is universal. That has directly impacted how my career has developed. I believe that sustainable design is integral to the design process, and the only good design is sustainable design. The technical aspects of Solar Decathlon design, construction and operation led me to my interests in my professional career, such as Passive House and the science behind building envelopes. Application of these principles in my work results in affordable, resilient and sustainable buildings. Whether or not green certification is being pursued, all buildings can be high performance and sustainable.

Describe a work outcome, building project or other achievement you are most proud of and how (if) it relates to your experience with Solar Decathlon.

West End Place, scheduled to be completed in 2021, is a mixed-use building that will provide private and group counseling services on the first floor and short-term apartments on the second floor to house victims of domestic violence. West End Place is a great example of how sustainable design can be made should be available to everyone. Well-insulated, air-sealed walls and minimal, balanced mechanical systems create a safe, comfortable and resilient space for survivors to live. Passive design and whole building energy modeling show that the building will meet AIA 2030 challenge energy goals.


The West End Place is located in Central Maryland and will house domestic violence survivors. The complex will also hold individual and group counseling for victims.

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