By Grey Lee

Bill Holland heads up our Residential Green Building Committee. I sat down with him for a few minutes to chat about work, life and sustainability.


Bill, what is your current job? How does it differ from past jobs in regards to Sustainability?
In my current position as the Mass Dept. of Housing and Community Development, I support local housing authorities in developing capital improvement plans for preserving state-assisted low income housing. Sometimes this work is simply re-roofing buildings to prevent building damage. Other times it may involve adding insulation, upgrading windows, replacing toilets with low flow models or installing high-efficiency heating systems. In rare situations that involve projects with new construction, we design to high performance standards. Although I have handled LEED certification on commercial projects in the past, this work is the first time that preservation and improved building performance have been the center of my team's efforts.
When did you become interested in Sustainability?
Back in the 1960s and early 70's there was a lot of interest amoung young designers and the counter-culture in designing with Nature rather than disregarding it. The technology was not so developed then as it is now but the ideas developed at the time provided much of the underpinning of today's green technologies. I was attending architect school at MIT at the time and became quite interested in the possibilities highlighted in such publications as The Whole Earth Catalog.
Why are you a member of the Mass. Chapter and how did you get there?
I am a member of the Mass. Chapter because I believe that making buildings better is an essential part of achieving a sustainable culture. I also believe the consensus model and inclusion of all stakeholders are important elements for the transformation of our environment. Before there was a Chapter, I joined a group of other design professionals working with the Green Roundtable (GRT) in Boston to create a Massachusetts Membership Forum, which was the precursor to the Chapter. With support from the GRT, we incorporated to set up our first Board of Directors and became the USGBC Massachusetts Chapter. I was Vice Chair of the Board in our first year. More recently, I took up the Chairmanship of the newly formed Residential Green Building Committee which is in its third year.
How are you an Environmental Steward?
I try to live lightly by minimizing waste, eating meat only rarely, recycling whatever I can, composting, walking, bicycling, using public transportation and installing a high efficiency boiler in my house. I recently added photovoltaic panels on the roof of my house, with the expectation that they will be able to generate an amount of electricity equal to that my wife Meg and I consume.
How do you help raise Environmental Awareness?
I use Facebook and emails to highlight environmental issues with friends and family members scattered throughout the country. I also participate in the environmental discussions among the members of the First Unitarian Society of Newton, which has a Green Sanctuary committee to promote environmental issues.
On a Saturday afternoon, where would we find you?
I might be taking a walk or doing house projects with Meg, chopping vegetables for one of my super salads or taking a nap. However two weeks ago, I was visiting my son in Amherst MA and helping with his car. Last week, I was in Raleigh NC “rallying” for a more equitable world. This week, by contrast Meg and I are on a vacation relaxing in Florida!
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