Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Smart Growth Realty reuses bamboo flooring for real estate sign riders with a cool look.

One day as I was walking in a Home Depot store in Pinecrest,FL looking for I forget what. I stumble upon a sale on bamboo flooring. I was wondering as creative as I am what can I use this for when it comes to my real estate practice.

A light bulb went off and I said to myself , why don't I take the flooring pieces cut them up and use them in the form of a real estate sign rider.

Not knowing how to go about this I went to Alex at The Sign Shoppe in The Falls area who does all my custom work and I said" Alex how can we take this flooring and create a unique rider never seen before" . We brainstormed for a minute and the final product is what you see. owning and running a Green residential real estate company in Coral Gables, I decided to make these bamboo riders to prove 2 points.

1. Differenciate my company from the rest.
2. Reclaim renewable materials for other uses.

Smart Growth Realty was founded to create an awareness for the need to build,remodel and retrofit Green and Sustainable homes in the South Florida area. Real estate brokers and agents have the unique ability to influence the spending of huge sums of money every year in real estate transactions. Not only in the purchase of the property, but in remodeling decisions, financing decisions, furnishing and decorating decisions.

Our motto is " Reducing the real estate home at a time"

For more information on how to create this cool looking custom Bamboo Rider email me at

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Ways to make your Thanksgiving more green by smart growth realty

I was wondering how to be more green on the day we eat the most ,researched and found these 12 steps on how we can still enjoy this great holiday and at the same time not try to waste or make an impact on our environment.

Here are 12 suggestions I researched on how to make your Turkey Day
a little more environmentally friendly.

1. Skip the factory farmed turkey.

2. Forgo the turkey entirely.

3. Buy organic.

4. Shop locally.

5. Save and share your leftovers.

6. Compost your scraps.

7. Use reusable dinnerware and storage containers.

8. Decorate with natural materials.

9. Remember your reusable shopping bags.

10. Recycle.

11. Turn off the TV.

12. Give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL !!! 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Smart Growth Realty donates avocado tree to local gables resident as part of initiative

Fulfilling our clients wants and needs is what makes owning Smart Growth Realty so special to be a part of. We profile every client before we ever go show any properties. You see most real estate agents are so excited with working with a prospect they really don't take the time to listen to what they are really looking for in a home. In some cases what the client wants is not always what they purchase.

Take this perfect example:

I got a phone call from Mr. Diaz on one of my listings in Coral Gables. I let him know that my wife Giselle was doing an open and to go by. Giselle and Mr. Diaz clicked right away and a week later we had him as a client. In the coming months we previewed several properties and made some offers on REO's that never materialized. One day on a business trip to Colombia, I sent Mr. Diaz an email with a property that came on the market I thought he would like. Location and size was perfect , but not the price and style.

Our client had always wanted a 1920's Old Spanish gables home. I love the Old Spanish, however it if has not been totally remodeled to new building code it could be a money pit for the new owner. As time passed we saw other styles like mediterrenean and contemporary. When he arrived from Colombia we set up a meeting with a wonderful Kerdyk realtor named Rachelle Kaplan. We met at this lovely home steps away from the University of Miami off San Amaro. I introduced Rachelle to Mr. Diaz and we proceeded to look over the home.

The homes was custom built in the late 60's with an incredible open floor plan. Very unique for the time. Terrazzo floors in the living room and open family room that overlooks the pool. We also had the pleasure speaking with the original owner who built the house. In a market where Short Sales and Foreclosures still dominate the market,it was nice actually being involved in a NON Third Party Transaction. To make the story short,both buyer and seller were very happy and closed within 36 days.

Guacamole Anyone ?
The key in my opinion to being a successful broker or real estate agent is two things :

1. Put AWAY your EGO.


Believe it or not the second one is sometimes the hardest to master. Pay attention to your clients conversations and take little bits and pieces and store them in the back of your head for future use. As an active member of the USGBC South Florida Chapter and Co- Chair on LEED for homes our company wants to make an impact on our environment,planet and homeowners lives.

During a simple conversation during the inspection of the home, I heard my client mentioned about the avocado tree lost in the storms. The bulb went on ! We had just received and avocado tree from Adopt A Tree at JC Bermudez park in Doral several weeks before. Giselle mentioned to me what a great idea to Reuse and donate the avocado tree to our clients as part of our company's green initiative program. We are happy to say both owner and tree are getting along very well.

Note: A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Eurohabitat and Smart Growth Realty founders at DWR event in Coral Gables

Carlos del Amo,Eddy Gugliotta,Alessandro Gugliotta
Eurohabitat Green founders Eddy Gugliotta (Middle) and son Alessandro (Right) were the main focus at the Design within Reach  event held in Coral Gables to promote their sustainable and recycled furniture line.

The event was a success as local Gables Residents walked down Miracle mile and pondered into the showroom intrigued by the modern and unique pieces of Alessandro's work. Alessandro also is a project Coordinator LEED AP at Mexal Corp, a  private company categorized under Building Contractors and located in Miami, FL. Records show it was established in 2000 and incorporated in Florida. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $1 to 2.5 million and employs a staff of approximately 1 to 4.

The event had a pleasant ambiance as wine and appetizers were served from 6 to 11pm. Design Within Reach were very gracious to hold this event at their showroom and shows how the City Beautiful is making a big push towards sustainable building practices.

Coral Gables is were Smart Growth Realty decided to call home. We are located at 3211 Ponce de Leon Blvd Suite 200 and walking distance to the city core. Our Walkscore is a healthy 84 out 100. We have the Gables Trolley stop about 50 ft away from our office which makes lunch time on miracle Mile enjoyable in the early Fall/Winter periods of Miami. "Reducing South Florida's Footprint...One Home at a Time" is our company motto and we donate part of our commissions back to local Green Organizations to promote what we really believe in.

Overall the event was a wonderful time spent with The Eurohabitat Team and the guests I met.
Thank you DWR and city of Coral Gables. Continue the movement towards a healthier and more energy efficient Miami Dade County.

 Eurohabitat  Tableware

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Benefits of going green in Miami and South Florida

There is a variety of reasons to go green, but most come back to supply and demand. We have a limited amount of resources available and more and more people using them up. If we want our future generations to enjoy the same standard of living we've experienced, we need to take action.

Green building is a great place to start, as buildings consume 14% of potable water, 40% of raw materials, and 39% of energy in the United States alone (according to the US Green Building Council). That's 15 trillion gallons of water and 3 billion tons of raw materials each year! If that's not enough to convince you, here are some other reasons to go green:

For The Environment

Want to make the world a better place? Implementing green practices into your home or office can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.

For The Savings

Want to make your dollar go further? Green systems and materials reduce energy consumption, which in turn reduce your energy bills. They also increase asset value and profits and decrease marketing time; making your dollar go further for longer.

For Your Health

Want to live healthier? Green building isn't just good for the environment; it's also good for YOU. Sustainable design and technology enhance a resident's overall quality of life by improving air and water quality and reducing noise pollution. According to a 2006 study by the Center of the Built Environment, University of California, green office buildings improve productivity and employee satisfaction in the workplace.

An abundance of green service professionals and products are available to help you get started. For more information, find an NAR Green Designee in your market or begin earning your NAR Green Designation today!

Courtesy of The Green Resource Council

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Building a raised bed vegetable garden out of recycled wood decking in Miami

Scareabella keeps birds and pests away
For many months my wife has been after me to build her a raised vegetable garden in our backyard and this was the final product. It took some proper planning but the overall presentation was more than I envisioned.

It started with reclaimed wood I rescued from a LEED home project in Lighthouse point. The Zahn family were building a new LEED home on the water and were about to use a more durable and sustainable material for their dock. So I asked them if they would mine if I hauled the old pressure treated wood back to my house so I can reuse it in some future home projects I wanted to do. They said OK.

One Saturday afternoon I got inspired to make the raised bed garden. It was quick and easy to put together in a few hours. I am sometimes up hauled when I see locals selling these same gardens for almost $500 when you can put in 3 hours of light work and less than $50 in materials and do it yourself. The wood was braced with joining brackets on all four sides and leveled before the ground installation.

My deck was done and it was ready to be installed. I cleared an area of grass and put a weed blocker under before I filled the bed with a mixture of the original soil dug out and some new organic soil  bough at Home depot. The soil  filled up to 6 inches from the bottom.

Plants in the Bed:

We started our vegetable garden with Tomatoes,parsley,thyme,Bib lettuce,Mexicali and Bonnet peppers,arugula,and basil. Watering technique was something  I learned from my next door neighbor's mom who raised and sold organic herbs and vegetables through her company Anna's annuals that watering these plants the traditional way was incorrect. The correct way was to soak the soil around the plants so it stays moist then give it a light mist and you are done.

We have been enjoying are garden every day as it grows. We pick what is ready to eat for the day and in the future will be building future gardens to grow other vegetables.


Our daughter named this scarecrow we purchased at Target in memory of the chicken we had over a year ago called ISA-BELLA. She is keeping out the birds and pests quick nicely. I do not claim to be a handyman by all means,however building this garden was a family fun project.

Miami Green Homes is copyrighted and the official blog for Smart Growth Realty. SGR is a green real estate company based in Miami Dade County and a leader in sustainable residential real estate.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Miami Today article on green real estate company opening Smart Growth Realty

Our company , Smart Growth Realty had the honor of  being written up by The Miami Today publication in the August 5th issue. " Reducing the real estate footprint" is our motto. We want to contribute in any way to reducing the carbon emmission with every home we sell.

Thank you Miami Today for helping us get the word out to make Miami a more healthier and energy efficient place to live.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Ecovida net zero smart home designed to be south florida's greenest and safest home

The Ecovida Smart home designed by builder and visionary Dane Jackman,LEED AP and founder of Jackman Construction has outdone himself in achieving an "Net Zero" energy efficient home.

It is with great excitement that the EcoVida Development Group introduces the EcoVida Smart Home. A pioneering project bringing like minded people, companies and institutions together for a common goal to educate, to raise awareness and to change people’s mindsets about sustainable and green living.

The showcase house will feature one of the most extensive uses of green building products and integrated “smart” technologies ever assembled in one demonstration house; to create a true Net-Zero, 100% energy efficient and self-sustaining building. The 1,726 sf, 3-Bedroom, 2-Bath home will be crafted with green materials and products that are donated by building partners and sponsors.

Some of the home's unique green features include :

Solar Panels for generating the home’s electricity needs with Net Metering.

Solar Water Heater for generating the home’s hot water needs.

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls and ceilings providing air tight super insulation, superior hurricane and fire resistance.

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) multi-split AC system for independently heating and cooling different zones.

HEPA air filtration and purification systems.

Fully automated smart panel for integrating and controlling energy management, audio visual, Compact Fluorescent lighting, communications and home security systems.

A Green Roof for turf replacement, insulation and vegetation growth.

A Rain Capture System for flushing toilets, washing clothes and washing cars.

Highly efficient windows and skylights for natural interior lighting and ventilation.

Outdoor living areas including a roof top terrace, an interior courtyard and green decking.

Electric charging station in the garage for Electric Vehicle.

Energy Star appliances and water efficient plumbing fixtures.

No- or low-VOC paints.

Biometric and remote door access - open and lock the doors from anywhere in the world through internet or cell phone.

Permeable driveway and walkway made of recycled material to reduce surface water run-off.

Xeriscape Landscaping - low water consuming plants and gardening practices that significantly lower water consumption.

Finish materials throughout made from recycled content or from renewable sources.

Miami Dade Walkscore Rating - 67

If you are interested in finding out more about building the Ecovida Smart Home, please email us at

Monday, November 13, 2017

50 different ways to make a serious impact on global warming

While surfing the web for green sites to see what is new in my industry, I came across this site on Global Warming. I knew many ways to reduce the production of greenhouse gas but going through this list I picked some others I was not aware of. It is important that we all do our part to make this planet a wonderful place to live for future generations.

1.Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl)

CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.We recommend you purchase your CFL bulbs at, they have great deals on both screw-in and plug-in light bulbs.

2.Install a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning. They can save you $100 a year on your energy bill.

3.Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer

Almost half of the energy we use in our homes goes to heating and cooling. You could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple adjustment.

4.Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner

Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

5.Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases

Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances to choose the most energy efficient products available.

6.Do not leave appliances on standby

Use the "on/off" function on the machine itself. A TV set that's switched on for 3 hours a day (the average time Europeans spend watching TV) and in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.

7.Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket

You’ll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action. You can save another 550 pounds per year by setting the thermostat no higher than 50°C.

8.Move your fridge and freezer

Placing them next to the cooker or boiler consumes much more energy than if they were standing on their own. For example, if you put them in a hot cellar room where the room temperature is 30-35ºC, energy use is almost double and causes an extra 160kg of CO2 emissions for fridges per year and 320kg for freezers.

9.Defrost old fridges and freezers regularly

Even better is to replace them with newer models, which all have automatic defrost cycles and are generally up to two times more energy-efficient than their predecessors.

10.Don't let heat escape from your house over a long period

When airing your house, open the windows for only a few minutes. If you leave a small opening all day long, the energy needed to keep it warm inside during six cold months (10ºC or less outside temperature) would result in almost 1 ton of CO2 emissions.

11.Replace your old single-glazed windows with double-glazing

This requires a bit of upfront investment, but will halve the energy lost through windows and pay off in the long term. If you go for the best the market has to offer (wooden-framed double-glazed units with low-emission glass and filled with argon gas), you can even save more than 70% of the energy lost.

12.Get a home energy audit

Many utilities offer free home energy audits to find where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient. You can save up to 30% off your energy bill and 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Energy Star can help you find an energy specialist.

13.Cover your pots while cooking

Doing so can save a lot of the energy needed for preparing the dish. Even better are pressure cookers and steamers: they can save around 70%!

14.Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when they are full

If you need to use it when it is half full, then use the half-load or economy setting. There is also no need to set the temperatures high. Nowadays detergents are so efficient that they get your clothes and dishes clean at low temperatures.

15.Take a shower instead of a bath

A shower takes up to four times less energy than a bath. To maximize the energy saving, avoid power showers and use low-flow showerheads, which are cheap and provide the same comfort.

16.Use less hot water

It takes a lot of energy to heat water. You can use less hot water by installing a low flow showerhead (350 pounds of carbon dioxide saved per year) and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year) instead of hot.

17.Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible

You can save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your clothes for 6 months out of the year.

18.Insulate and weatherize your home

Properly insulating your walls and ceilings can save 25% of your home heating bill and 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Caulking and weather-stripping can save another 1,700 pounds per year. Energy Efficient has more information on how to better insulate your home.

19.Be sure you’re recycling at home

You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by recycling half of the waste your household generates.

20.Recycle your organic waste

Around 3% of the greenhouse gas emissions through the methane is released by decomposing bio-degradable waste. By recycling organic waste or composting it if you have a garden, you can help eliminate this problem! Just make sure that you compost it properly, so it decomposes with sufficient oxygen, otherwise your compost will cause methane emissions and smell foul.

21.Buy intelligently

One bottle of 1.5l requires less energy and produces less waste than three bottles of 0.5l. As well, buy recycled paper products: it takes less 70 to 90% less energy to make recycled paper and it prevents the loss of forests worldwide.

22.Choose products that come with little packaging and buy refills when you can

You will also cut down on waste production and energy use... another help against global warming.

23.Reuse your shopping bag

When shopping, it saves energy and waste to use a reusable bag instead of accepting a disposable one in each shop. Waste not only discharges CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, it can also pollute the air, groundwater and soil.

24.Reduce waste

Most products we buy cause greenhouse gas emissions in one or another way, e.g. during production and distribution. By taking your lunch in a reusable lunch box instead of a disposable one, you save the energy needed to produce new lunch boxes.

25.Plant a tree

A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%. The Arbor Day Foundation has information on planting and provides trees you can plant with membership.

26.Switch to green power

In many areas, you can switch to energy generated by clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar. In some of these, you can even get refunds by government if you choose to switch to a clean energy producer, and you can also earn money by selling the energy you produce and don't use for yourself.

27.Buy locally grown and produced foods

The average meal in the United States travels 1,200 miles from the farm to your plate. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in your community.

28.Buy fresh foods instead of frozen

Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce.

29.Seek out and support local farmers markets

They reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you by one fifth. Seek farmer’s markets in your area, and go for them.

30.Buy organic foods as much as possible

Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils from conventional farms. If we grew all of our corn and soybeans organically, we’d remove 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!

31.Eat less meat

Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters. Their grassy diet and multiple stomachs cause them to produce methane, which they exhale with every breath.

32.Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible

Avoiding just 10 miles of driving every week would eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year! Look for transit options in your area.

33.Start a carpool with your coworkers or classmates

Sharing a ride with someone just 2 days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds a year. runs a free service connecting north american commuters and travelers.

34.Don't leave an empty roof rack on your car

This can increase fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 10% due to wind resistance and the extra weight - removing it is a better idea.

35.Keep your car tuned up

Regular maintenance helps improve fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. When just 1% of car owners properly maintain their cars, nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide are kept out of the atmosphere.

36.Drive carefully and do not waste fuel

You can reduce CO2 emissions by readjusting your driving style. Choose proper gears, do not abuse the gas pedal, use the engine brake instead of the pedal brake when possible and turn off your engine when your vehicle is motionless for more than one minute. By readjusting your driving style you can save money on both fuel and car mantainance.

37.Check your tires weekly to make sure they’re properly inflated

Proper tire inflation can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. Since every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, every increase in fuel efficiency makes a difference!

38.When it is time for a new car, choose a more fuel efficient vehicle

You can save 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year if your new car gets only 3 miles per gallon more than your current one. You can get up to 60 miles per gallon with a hybrid! You can find information on fuel efficiency on FuelEconomy and on GreenCars websites.

39.Try car sharing

Need a car but don’t want to buy one? Community car sharing organizations provide access to a car and your membership fee covers gas, maintenance and insurance. Many companies – such as Flexcar - offer low emission or hybrid cars too! Also, see ZipCar.

40.Try telecommuting from home

Telecommuting can help you drastically reduce the number of miles you drive every week. For more information, check out the Telework Coalition.

41.Fly less

Air travel produces large amounts of emissions so reducing how much you fly by even one or two trips a year can reduce your emissions significantly. You can also offset your air travel carbon emissions by investingin renewable energy projects.

42.Encourage your school or business to reduce emissions

You can extend your positive influence on global warming well beyond your home by actively encouraging other to take action.

43.Join the virtual march

The Stop Global Warming Virtual March is a non-political effort to bring people concerned about global warming together in one place. Add your voice to the hundreds of thousands of other people urging action on this issue.

44.Encourage the switch to renewable energy

Successfully combating global warming requires a national transition to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. These technologies are ready to be deployed more widely but there are regulatory barriers impeding them. U.S. citizens, take action to break down those barriers with Vote Solar.

45.Protect and conserve forest worldwide

Forests play a critical role in global warming: they store carbon. When forests are burned or cut down, their stored carbon is release into the atmosphere - deforestation now accounts for about 20% of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Conservation International has more information on saving forests from global warming.

46.Consider the impact of your investments

If you invest your money, you should consider the impact that your investments and savings will have on global warming. Check out SocialInvest and Ceres to can learn more about how to ensure your money is being invested in companies, products and projects that address issues related to climate change.

47.Make your city cool

Cities and states around the country have taken action to stop global warming by passing innovative transportation and energy saving legislation. If you're in the U.S., join the cool cities list.

48.Tell Congress to act

The McCain Lieberman Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act would set a firm limit on carbon dioxide emissions and then use free market incentives to lower costs, promote efficiency and spur innovation. Tell your representative to support it.
49.Make sure your voice is heard!

Americans must have a stronger commitment from their government in order to stop global warming and implement solutions and such a commitment won’t come without a dramatic increase in citizen lobbying for new laws with teeth. Get the facts about U.S. politicians and candidates at Project Vote Smart and The League of Conservation Voters. Make sure your voice is heard by voting!

50.Share this list!

Send this page via e-mail to your friends! Spread this list worldwide and help people doing their part: the more people you will manage to enlighten, the greater YOUR help to save the planet will be (but please take action on first person too)!

Carlos del Amo
Smart Growth Realty