by: Maria Amodio | Observer Intern
MyGreenBuildings, LLC has a new location on Orange Avenue, but nearly everything in the office, from the sliding-glass doors to the chair at owner Steve Ellis’ desk, is recycled.
The materials came from an office building in downtown Sarasota that MyGreenBuildings is currently in the process of renovating.
“We negotiated a deal with our clients that instead of getting rid of perfectly good materials, we would put them to use in our new office,” says Ellis.
Ellis first got into green building in 2006, when he set out to distinguish a piece of property in a tight real-estate climate. He decided to renovate the home as the first renovated structure in the state to be green-building certified by the Florida Green Building Certification Coalition.
The self-proclaimed “real-estate junkie” became fascinated by the ever-evolving techniques of the green-building industry and has been hooked ever since.
“I love the technology,” says Ellis. “I love that what we’re doing is helping people live healthier and safer lives and protect their family and their belongings.”
But Ellis hadn’t just found a new calling in that initial project — he also met his future business partner. Ellis hired Grant Castilow to work with him on the renovation, but the two ended up getting along so well that they decided to start a company together.
“Grant and I had very similar goals,” says Ellis. “We learned a ton, we got along and that was the genesis of MyGreenBuildings.”
Ellis and Castilow co-founded MyGreenBuildings in 2006, and both owners became LEED-accredited professionals.
In 2009, MyGreenBuildings built the greenest home in the state at the time. The Siesta Key Zen project received 234 out of 300 possible points from the LEED certification system.
MyGreenBuildings is currently working on the restoration of an original Carl Abbott home in Sarasota, which is an honor for Ellis and Castilow, who are both big fans of his work.
The company has worked on several commercial projects, including Orthodontists of Sarasota and the Black Bird Home Gallery on Main Street, but Ellis says nothing compares to building people’s homes.
“Building for people is a real art,” says Ellis. “When you’re building for people, they put so much time and effort into thinking through every little nuance. As a custom home builder you have to match wits with that.”