The work of Williams’ energy conservation project manager Todd Holland is a lot like law enforcement: never done.
And like a growing number of law enforcement professionals, Holland employs forensics to detect culprits. One of his favorite tools is a hand-held thermal imaging camera, which he uses to ensure that new construction and building renovations are as energy efficient as possible.
The camera captures signatures that are evidence of heat loss. According to Holland, “In the past, if we thought that a contractor had, say, forgotten to insulate some pipes, the only way we could prove it was to make them tear down a new wall. If it turned out we were wrong, it was embarrassing…and expensive.”
With the camera, Holland can make his case through that new wall. Or spot an un-insulated wall from across the room. Or a pump, valve, or water heater that’s not properly insulated and needs buttoning up.
One recent example is The Oakley Center—an older building that was so hard to heat that the college was considering replacing its beautiful period windows with more efficient but historically inaccurate ones. Holland figured out that the problem was the center’s original insulation: a half-inch membrane of early 20th century seagrass from Marblehead, Mass. “We simply blew cellulose in and around that original stuff, and presto!”
Since Holland arrived in 2004 he’s harvested a lot of low-hanging fruit—insulating buildings and spaces, retrofitting lights, tuning controls. Estimated energy cost savings? Over $400,000 a year and climbing, while Williams’ carbon footprint continues to shrink.
“But that’s all triage,” says Holland, who’s now on bigger projects like Chandler and Lasell gyms, which are more extensive and will have even larger returns.
His work’s barely begun.