Rebecca Hollister has accomplished what many others her age have been unable to: she’s found a way to align her personal convictions with her workplace goals. Rebecca is the head of Slifer Designs green building team.”I’m just a big tree-hugger,” Rebecca laughs. “I’ve always just had an interest in our natural environment and I take a lot of inspiration from that when it comes to what I do. Just recognizing that we have a responsibility to take care of our environment.”Rebecca spent the majority of her childhood in the South before moving to Denver when she was 14 years old. After graduating from high school she spent a year in Vail, attending CMC and deciding her next step in life. After that year she returned to her Southern roots to go to school at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.The mountains had secured a place in Rebecca’s heart and upon graduating from college, she returned to Vail. Three years ago she began working as a project designer for Slifer Designs in Edwards. Shortly after joining the Slifer team, Rebecca helped start a green team.”We started a green team in-house to educate ourselves more about sustainable options in interior design and architecture,” Rebecca says. “It’s becoming really important in the industry right now. It’s always been my main area of interest with design.”Currently the Slifer green team is busy collecting information to create their own green design library within the Slifer library. They’re also working to create an in-house database, which will compile information on all of the sustainable products available.”(The field) is definitely gaining momentum,” Rebecca says. “Though it’s still hard to navigate through all of the options sometimes. It’s difficult to determine just how ‘green’ something really is, beyond what the manufacturer claims.”This week Rebecca will travel to New York City for the largest annual green design conference in the world, the EnvironDesign Conference.”I can’t wait to bring back (information on) all of the latest products,” Rebecca says. “Last time I had a huge bag full.”And when Rebecca comes back with the samples, she doesn’t just put them back in a closet and forget about them. In the past she’s showcased a product each month in the corner of the employee break room that’s been designated the official “green table.”Slifer Designs, in conjunction with the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability and RA Nelson, hosted Green Building Group meetings every week this past winter. The latest rounds of meetings are complete, but Rebecca is looking forward to starting back up again in the fall.”We’ve had great turnout, between 30 and 50 people each time,” she says. “It’s been a super networking opportunity for people as well.”Matt Scherr, president of the EVAFS, has seen Rebecca’s dedication to the weekly meetings and to the idea of sustainable living firsthand.”She’s there beyond the call of duty,” Scherr says. “She sends out e-mails to all sorts of people trying to encourage support of LEED legislation as well as local stuff. She’s a closet activist.”As far as I can tell, she’s been the greatest driver at Slifer, moving them in a green direction and helping them understand the economic perspective. As a designer you don’t often talk about the economic benefits of being green, not to the client anyway, but she’s keeping that in the conversation.”Rebecca says that LEED certification and sustainable building in general is becoming more popular in certain markets, Lake Tahoe and Jackson Hole being two examples, and though Vail isn’t a huge market yet, Rebecca is hopeful for the future. Currently she’s working on the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club, a project that will be LEED certified.”We want to keep the feel of the place, it has to have a Jackson Hole feel, high-end but rustic. We’ve been researching getting local materials rather than granite from Italy, more appropriate things like sandstone, that would come from within a 500-mile radius.”And though a project that is working towards LEED certification can take a lot of time investment and research up front, Rebecca is a true believer in the overall benefit for the client, as well as the environment.It’s no surprise that Rebecca is passionate about the environment in her spare time she spends a significant amount of time outside with her other passion: horses.”I train horses and teach riding lessons on the side mostly at Berry Creek and the Diamond Star Ranch in Wolcott. It’s the only sport I really ever participated in I love it.”This past fall Rebecca bought a condo at Sunridge and she’s already scheming ways to help make that small community a better place.”I want to get recycling going there and maybe start a community garden,” she says. VTCaramie Schnell can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.