|1||Aqua Pool & Spa||Reusing Materials|
|3||Rosebrook Pools||Green Products|
According to at least one famous frog, it isn’t easy being
green. Sure, there are government rebates and high-ticket
equipment, but many less prominent green practices are not as
Still, some of this year’s Top Builders go the extra mile
to use energy-efficient technology and recyclable materials.
Here’s a look at what they’re doing.
Aqua Pool & Spa
& Spa began reusing construction material long before being
green was in vogue. And while recycling on the job does provide
some savings, it wasn’t inspired out of budget cuts.
“A lot of [our practices] aren’t a cost savings as
much as the right thing to do,” explains Gregg Whitley,
co-owner and vice president for the Manteca, Calif.-based builder.
“In terms of recyclables, the two largest categories are
concrete and wood materials.”
On the jobsite, Whitley has a keen eye for waste. Excavated
concrete and gunite are recycled into a sub-base for rock
structures and masonry projects. Deck form boards are reused in
other projects. Even if the boards become too worn for accurate
forms, they still can be utilized to make jigs and wood stands.
Elsewhere, short rebar is used for stakes and extra PVC for
There are also a number of cost-saving green measures that Aqua
implements within its own retail store.
These include alternating store lighting with natural light,
depending on how bright it is outside. Similarly, on temperate
days, Aqua opens its doors and turns off the heat and AC.
“There’s a balance there we’ve tried to employ
with both the lighting and the temperature,” Whitley
Pools concentrates more on using green-friendly materials that
cater to a high-end demographic.
“There’s a ton of recycled materials [to use in
pools], but just because it’s recycled, doesn’t mean
it’s cheap,” notes Jaime Ori, principal at the company.
“But that’s what people want now. They can’t get
[being green] out of their head, and they’re willing to pay
The Libertyville, Ill.-based firm uses a wide variety of
recycled construction materials. Tile and coping are often made of
recycled glass, and patios are created from recycled composite
granite. Ori even special-orders a chemical-free shotcrete mix for
a more green-friendly pool structure.
Rosebrook also offers sustainable solutions around the yard.
“We do on-site storage tanks underground that collect all
the run-off from the patio and downspouts. They can use it for the
autofill on the pool, sprinklers, [or] theoretically
anything,” Ori says.
The pools use a nonchlorine sanitizing system to avoid damage to
the lawn, and run-off water passes through a cartridge filter
before being redistributed. Ori even built a project where run-off
water is redirected to the house, where it’s treated with a
commercial filter system and reverse osmosis.
Sometimes, green can be achieved from an operational standpoint.
Beginning in 2006, Shasta Industries has made a concentrated effort to go
completely paperless. By choosing document scanning over hard
copies, the builder estimates savings of nearly $500,000 last
“It’s been a major breakthrough in terms of people
efficiency and resources, and access to the information,”
said Bob Dye, controller for the Phoenix-based firm.
By scanning documents into the computer system, Shasta
eliminated couriers between locations and synchronized business
with its various vendors.
The proliferation of electronic documents could even extend to
the homeowner, where they would see an onscreen blueprint of the
design and be able to sign off on a contract.
“Certainly the green impact is part of what we’ve
accomplished and what we want to accomplish, but the main goal
really is to reduce our costs and provide a better experience to
the customer, our vendors and our employees,” Dye says.