Ed Gulick has lived without a car since 1995, and he doesn't miss driving one bit. No matter what time of year, you'll see him riding his bicycle on the streets of Billings, often with a bicycle messenger bag slung over his shoulder.
Gulick, an architect with High Plains Architects, has pursued a low-carbon lifestyle by making a few simple adjustments to his life. He shops for locally-grown food. He added extra insulation, energy-efficient windows and high-efficient appliances to his home on 10th Avenue North. As a result, his home consumes a fraction of the energy used by a typical home.
Living without a car hasn't left Gulick isolated from the social scene or volunteer work. He serves on boards and commissions and sings in two choirs.
Gulick has been at the forefront of the green building movement in Billings. He was a project architect on the award-winning renovation of Home on the Range, a former grocery store at 202 S. 27th St. that now houses the Northern Plains Resource Coun-cil and its parent organization, the Western Organization of Resource Councils.
Home on the Range won LEED Platinum Certification for a design that conserves energy and other resources. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Gulick says he's the first Montanan to receive LEED accreditation.
Gulick moved back to his hometown because he thought he could make a difference. "I felt that I could make things happen and be part of a good transformation for the community," he said.
"My work at High Plains Architects is perfectly aligned with my life's mission: to be a catalyst for the transformation to eco-nomic and environmental sustainability in the greater Billings region," Gulick said.
Describe how you got where you are in your work today.
Constant attention to improvement. Learning should be a lifelong pursuit, and, fortunately, I'm naturally a curious person, so I enjoy it.
What's the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business?
Anticipating various unforeseen conditions in projects. It's important to prevent surprises and to manage expectations.
What did you learn from that challenge?
I keep a running list of things that I've learned from each project that I refer to periodically. I've also developed checklists.
If you could make one positive change in Billings, what would it be?
Only one? New zoning ordinances and a public understanding of the issues that would enable compact, mixed-use develop-ment along our major commercial corridors.
Which living person do you most admire?
Barack Obama. His authenticity, his commitment to positive change, his brilliant insight, and his coolness under fire have served him and our country very well while we endure the challenges that face us and the resulting high-pressure political envi-ronment.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Designing and getting built the Home on the Range building on a very tight budget. Of course, I was part of a team effort. In terms of achievements that have been almost solely my doing: I look back in amazement at the considerable creativity, resource-fulness, and tenacity I employed to finish my senior art project.
First paid job: Yard work
Favorite book or publication: "Guns, Germs, and Steel," by Jared Diamond.
Liked this movie: "Gran Torino"
Uses this Web site a lot: www.buildinggreen.com
How I relax: Bike touring, watching a film, reading books on World War II history.