We know that the construction business is waste and energy-intensive, so as general contractors, our decisions and actions carry great responsibility. To that end, we have developed a two-fold approach to sustainability in business operations:
1. Track specific metrics to consciously reduce construction waste. Concrete related activities represent 55% of our work volume, so a primary focus is on forming operations. Overaa buys approximately 75,000 cu yards of concrete, 132,000 board feet of milled lumber, and 195,000 board feet of forming plywood annually. That’s a lot of raw natural resources. Most of the wood is cut and assembled into forming panels at Overaa's fabrication yard in Richmond then dispatched to various jobsites. Our Richmond yard and office is powered 100% by solar energy. By aggregating this operation in a central location, the wood remnants are saved for other applications, thereby utilizing 95% of the original purchased material. We use aluminum and steel forms wherever possible - these can be reused up to 250 times. We invest in LVL (laminated veneered lumber) which use remnants of milled lumber. We dismantle prefabricated wood "I" joists to reuse the components in other forming material. We replace high strength steel, re-useable wall forming ties in 85% of our wall forming applications, thereby replacing one-time use steel snap ties with plastic cones. Recycled plastic nailers are used in place of wood nailers in aluminum joists. We encourage the use of recycled class II aggregate subbase in 92% of our subgrade preparation work.
2. Seek out projects and clients whose entrepreneurial zeal for the environment aligns with our core values. Our projects have helped supply Bay Area cities with cleaner drinking water with cutting edge treatment processes including ozonation. Our projects have helped clean millions of gallons of wastewater before it's discharged into the San Francisco Bay. Our projects have helped generate more 25 Megawatts of clean energy through solar and cogeneration. We built a rotating laboratory at LBNL devoted to research on green architectural components and we even like to think we played a small part in repopulating native California species through our preconstruction and construction efforts at the Oakland Zoo.
Recently, ENR named Overaa the 70th top Environmental Firm in the nation and the top 3rd Environmental Contractor in California.