Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kids Teaching Kids

This past weekend, Breaking Ground Education Services provided a children's workshop entitled, "Where Does the Rain Go?" as part of the Family ArtFest and Salute to the Troops festival supporting the revitalization of the MidTown Centre in historic St. Nicholas (previously known as the Koger Center). The best part of this workshop is that is was not taught by adults, but by fabulously talented children/scientists Jincy and Ruairi Songer. The Songer duo are currently working on many projects involving storm water research and vegetative solutions. You can visit their blog, the St. Johns River Blog, in the "Great Green Links" section on this blog, or at Jincy and Ruairi did a fantastic job of illustrating through the use of their stormwater model what happens when it rains, where the water goes, and what other elements go along with the water to our rivers, streams and other water bodies. The audience was completely mesmerized as they witnessed all of the black dye, which represents oil, trash and other non-organic material, going from the neighborhood model on top to the beautiful water of the St. John's River below. One of the students actually belted, "You mean all that goes into the water we drink?" Wow, Jincy and Ruairi! A picture, or rather, a model, is definitely worth a thousand words!! Thank you to the Songer Family for all of their support of our workshop. We couldn't have done it without you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Walking for Clean Air

On October 25th, many of our Breaking Ground employees, friends and colleagues gathered to walk in support of cleaner air in the inaugural American Lung Association's O2 Green Walk. The walk was held at the beautiful Robert W. Lofton Nature Trails on the campus of The University of North Florida. The goal of the walk was to raise $50,000.00 in support of the ALA's many outstanding programs. The donations from this event came just shy of this figure.

Our corporate logo states, "Construction. Redefined," and, once again, Breaking Ground Contracting is literally walking the walk! In addition to our complete commitment to green and LEED building, our corporate culture is one of community involvement and education, and this event was just one of many that we feel fortunate to have been a part of.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Walking the Walk. Our Corporate Facelift.

Breaking Ground Contracting will be undergoing a fabulous facelift in the Fall of 2009, and Owner and President Mary Tappouni is LEEDing the charge. Following her vision of a sustainable office building, Mary has assembled a talented integrated design and construction team that will build this project with a goal of platinum LEED certification! Yes, our sweet, little office building will boast such innovations as a vegetative roof and photovoltaic solar panels with a structural roof design to accommodate it all. In addition, we will have an energy-efficient HVAC system, landscaping that will bring the outdoors in and indoor air quality that will make us all want to breathe deeply. There are too many quality facets of this project to name here, but keep watching for updates! Involved in the design and construction team are: Mary Tappouni, Owner of Breaking Ground Contracting, Michelle Tappouni, General Manger Breaking Ground Contracting, Ellen Reed, Business Development Director Breaking Ground Contracting and LEED Facilitator on the project, Marie Hurst, Interior Desinger, Kevin Songer, Vegetated Roof and Landscaping Consultant, Kirby Bujarski, Superintendent, Mark Gelfo, Commissioning Authority, Jeff Stone, Mechnanical Engineer, John Hall, Plumbing Engineer, Tamara Baker, Structural Engineer, Mark Mechling, Civil Engineer, Robin Ackerman, Tenant Representative, Catherine Burkee, Education Consultant, Marc Skarecki, Solar Consultant and Rick Anderson, Roofing Contractor. follow along with us as we post information, photos and stories that take you with us through the LEED process from start to finish. Some photos are inserted in this post, but to view a photo listing of six charette photos and captions go to and enjoy!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Offset your carbon's how!

Ever heard of a Terrapass? I hadn't either until I immersed myself in the world of sustainable living. Although we humans cannot completely undo the damage we create on this beautiful home we call Earth, we can help to fund cleaner technologies and projects that contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emmissions. Go to to see the variety of ways the purchase of a Terrapass can work towards supporting these projects.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No Field of Dreams

I don't know if it was a coincidence, but I had just completed reading a section of Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. This particular section of the book eloquently and non-judgmentally focused on the difficulty children have finding spaces in which to play and be creative. Then, BAM!...there it was the very next day in the New York Times... an article entitled, "Build a Wiffle Ball Field and Lawyers Will Come." This article illustrates the perfect case and point about how we, as adults, don't understand why children no longer play outside like we did, yet we continue to place boundries and parameters on them that did not exist for us as children. One of the very last paragraphs in the article is reason enough for every parent, teacher and teenager to read Richard Louv's book: The regular players, mostly high school boys but including Tara Currivan, 15 (who swings a mean bat and brings lemonade to the field), and Scott Atkinson, 13, seem a little befuddled by the whole thing. “They think we’re a cult,” said Jeff Currivan, 17. “People think we should be home playing ‘Grand Theft Auto.’ ”

Are We a Contractor or Educator?

The answer is....both! As Director of Education for Breaking Ground Education Services, a division of Breaking Ground Contracting, people often remark about how unconventional it is that a construction company also promotes education. Each time I hear these remarks, it becomes even MORE clear to me just how much sense it makes that a successful construction company like Breaking Ground Contracting blaze the trail of education in green, sustainable and LEED* building and workplace safety. After all, buildings use the greatest amount of energy...WAY more than our vehicles. So, it stands to reason that we do our part to enlighten the industry to environmentally sound ways of doing business. We don't just believe it, we live it! The foresight of President, Mary Tappouni, began many years ago with her passion for building, nature and the environment. Her vision drives her company, and those of us who have the privilege of working for Breaking Ground Contracting have been infected by her passion for green building and the desire to couple sound building practices with environmental responsibility. It is our mission to educate other contractors, architects, engineers, subcontractors, developers and anyone else who wants to listen and learn, about the ways we can all do our part in building green for the future...the future of our industry, our children and our world.