Kenneth J. Filarski is the new chairman of the Rhode Island Green Building Council, which aims to promote sustainable development. He’s worked as an architect and planner in the state for the past 37 years. His specialty is building design and construction. He discusses the organization’s financial health and the state of environmentally friendly development in Rhode Island.
PBN: Tight finances led the council’s executive director to resign in 2011. Can you tell us about the organization’s health today?
FILARSKI: With all organizations, and especially nonprofits, it’s not just about the purpose of the organization, but how they support themselves. I think the Rhode Island Green Building Council got off the track just a little bit. We forgot for a couple of blinks of an eye what we were trying to do. Momentum needed to be maintained, but we got it back. The Rhode Island Green Building Council will be moving forward with the intent to connect, collaborate, cooperate and coordinate with other organizations in the private sector and the nonprofit sector. We will also look to build partnerships with the cities and towns in Rhode Island. Sustainability is holistic and our approaches to achieving sustainability need to be holistic.
PBN: Will the organization be hiring a new director anytime soon?
FILARSKI: No, I don’t foresee that. There are some green-building councils that have full-time staff, and some that don’t. It may come sometime, but I don’t see it in the near future. The Rhode Island economy is still tough. We’re going to continue with a part-time coordinator. Having a director in the past was a good idea. It helped us lay down a foundation. At the time there was a lot of fast growth, but suddenly the economy went in a different direction and we didn’t have the finances and the resources we had before.