What Makes a Building Green or Environmentally Friendly?


There are many benefits to building green. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, “LEED-certified buildings have 34 percent lower CO2 emissions, consume 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills.” There’s also the added bonus that most green buildings live in harmony with their surroundings, are close to urban settings and parks, and can save their owners money over time.
But what goes into making a green building? Since we’ve been going through the LEED-certification process on all our builds, we’ve learned a lot about the process.
A green building is one that aspires to achieve ecological—and often aesthetic—harmony between a structure and its environment. This includes the natural environment and the surrounding community. When building an environmentally friendly structure, every detail is accounted for, including design; energy, resource, and water efficiency; lot development; durability; and more.
But like most explanations, it’s better to see the definition in action. Our 4045 Bonita Avenue building, specifically, is a great example. Take a look at how we maximized many aspects of building green:

Speed of Construction

The longer a crew takes on a construction site, the more resources are likely to be used. This is why we ensured a timely completion of Bonita so we would have the lowest impact to the site and surrounding areas. We started the excavation and foundation (including basement) in June of 2016, finished the shell structure and interior framing in October, and completed the interior finishes in December.

Minimal waste and trash created

Through final phases of the project, we managed to use only one 40-yard trash container. Other similar-sized, local LEED-certified homes of conventional concrete block structures typically generate between 10 and 13 containers of waste.

Strength and durability of building materials

For Bonita, we decided to use a steel structure with heavy gauge steel framing and corrugated metal deck siding designed to exceed building code. This design was also created to withstand hurricane force winds.
The steel framing we used contained at least 28% recycled steel and is completely recyclable itself. By choosing steel for this construction, we were able to save quite a few trees in the process. For reference, a typical 2,000 square-foot wood-framed home requires about 40 to 50 trees or one acre. The same frame made out of steel is the equivalent of about six scrapped cars. The result is a home that is strong, sturdy, and will not become susceptible to rot, mold, or termite infestation.
As we continue to dedicate our construction projects to going green, we’ll post more about what goes into building environmentally friendly homes. In the meantime, check out our latest 4045 Bonita Avenue updates.