MyGreenBuildings to save older homes

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We’re seeing many baby boomer consumers who are educated, monied and equipped with a social conscience.


Sarasota’s Grant Castilow and Steve Ellis recently launched MyGreenBuildings to save older homes and rebuild them with green materials.

In 2005, when Lakewood Ranch began reqiring its 20 participating builders to incorporate green building practices, it was an enormous catalyst to the area’s green building movement.

The plan initially met with resistance, says Bob Sisum, director of builder programs for LWR Communities, who is also chairman of both the Florida and Sarasota County Home Builders Associations’ committees on green building.

“Builders were mainly concerned about the costs,” says Sisum, “but we told them we’d arrange for consultants to review their plans and keep costs to a minimum.”

Sisum says builders subsequently were surprised at what happened. “Once they were ordering the low-VOC [volatile organic compound] paints in large quantities, the price came down,” he says.
“Then we got a deal from the air conditioning folks to replace the traditional duct tape with mastic. And once Sarasota County started offering expedited permits and permit rebates to green builders, even the most reluctant builder jumped on the bandwagon. Now all 20 participate.”

Sisum says the experience has had a ripple effect. “Now the developer is looking into establishing green building for the commercial construction taking place at Lakewood Ranch,” he says. “And the builders who build here also build at other sites throughout the area. Since they tend to build the same way wherever they are, green building practices are spreading throughout the community.”

They’ll be spreading for miles around if Steve Ellis has his way. The native Massachusetts resident sold a business he started to help companies reduce, reuse and recycle their waste streams, and he’s now recycling in a different way. With partner/contractor Grant Castilow, he has launched MyGreenBuildings, a firm devoted to saving older Sarasota homes and rebuilding them greenly.

Their first project: expanding an 1,100-square-foot, 1946 home at 1876 Goldenrod in Southgate into a 2,100-square-foot home with three bedrooms and three baths. They will utilize such products as blown-in insulation made of soy and a beadboard ceiling rescued from a tear-down. The project’s salvageable, leftover construction materials will be send to recycling destinations. Price for the spec home: between $750,000 and $800,000.

The time is right for his business, Ellis says, “We’re seeing many baby boomer consumers who are educated, monied and equipped with a social conscience. Not only are they anxious to lessen the impact of their footprint on the environment, but they are impressed by how the small investment is green products now will get them big energy savings in the future.”

Ellis says he can bring his company’s savvy to homeowners who want to stay put. “What we’re hoping to do is show them how they can improve their own homes practically, cosmetically and in a softer way.”