5 of the Best Green Building Shifts for Commercial Construction

The interest in building sustainably has grown exponentially over the past decade and it’s not likely it will go away. Gone are the days when building green meant paying out big bucks with little or no return on the investment. Now, not only is sustainable building more affordable, it will actually save companies money over time. Add on top the tax breaks, rebates, grants, and other incentives that exist out there—your company would be crazy not to jump on the bandwagon. This doesn’t mean all of the options out there will mean monetary gains, and not all green advancements are made equal. Here in the United States, we have a rating system in place by the US Green Building Council and it’s known as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Many other countries around the world have similar systems as well–like the UK and France.

So with all the new products, advancements, and technologies happening on the green commercial building front, what are some of the best ones out there? Let’s take a look.

  1. Passive Solar – Unlike solar panels, passive solar designs do not require any type of a device to utilize the energy of the sun. The passive part comes in by taking the time to watch the sun’s path as it’s rays would strike the newly constructed building. The design of a passive solar building will take all variations of the sun’s path throughout the day, and throughout differing seasons, to make the most use of its power so it can be an integral part of lighting the building, and even heating and cooling it as well. There are a lot of variables at play in this type of design, and many that need to be considered. However, the payoff can be substantial—not only in money saved, but even in the way it affects the moods of those who work inside the building.
  2. Green Building Software – With all of the hundreds of pages to read in the LEED Green Interior and Construction guide, is it any wonder companies have developed collaborative software designed to make it easier to understand? One of the most well-known is a cloud-based program known as Sefaira Concept. It allows designers to set up scenarios that show the costs and benefits of using different energy sources, types of water usage, and overall helping commercial buildings live up to their full potential.
  3. HVAC Redesigns – Traditional HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems can be energy efficient, but there are alternatives on the market called chiller boiler systems which have a better green record. This type of system is hydronic, which is similar to the older hydronic radiators, but instead of hot water, they use radiant heat. The downside of a chiller boiler is they’re best for small commercial buildings, as they haven’t produced cost-effective ones for larger ones.
  4. Sustainable Insulation – Here in Minnesota, having good insulation is critical, and it’s not just to be kind to the environment. Luckily, there are lots of sustainable options now on the market. Some reuse materials to convert into fire retardant insulation (such as recycled plastic bottles, newspapers, or even your old denim blue jeans!). There’s also insulation made directly from plant-based fibers. Some manufacturers are producing insulation from straw, hemp, and even flax.
  5. Mycoform – What would you think about walls themselves being made out of plant materials? Mycoform technology involves actually growing building materials using mycelium, a fungal spore. The fungal spore feeds off a waste material of choice, inside a mold, then it fills up the space. It’s then heat-treated to kill the spore, leaving behind a strong brick, plate, or other shape. They’re inexpensive and require nothing toxic to make. One downside could be the fact they are biodegradable, so caution needs to be used when deciding what material(s) the molds are made from, or where the mycoform walls are placed in relation to the elements. This technology is in an experimental phase, but it will be interesting to see what other options come out of it in the future.

As you can see, green building designs for commercial construction is not only doable, but can be worth the investment. If you’re interested in starting a new commercial construction project, renovation, or just curious about what we offer at Baratto Brothers, contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’re here to help you sift through your options, and come up with an affordable plan that delivers the results you’re looking for. We’ll do everything we can to become your Commercial Builder for Life.

5 Commercial Construction Trends Happening Now

Commercial construction trends have been fluctuating over the past decade. Ever since the market crash and the building bubble burst a few years back, the commercial construction industries have been trying to recover. Now that we’re in 2015, here at Baratto Brothers, we’ve been noticing some uplifting trends happening. But you don’t have to take our word for it. According to Dodge Data and Analytics, the commercial construction industry is poised to increase by 11% going into 2016 – which is great news for everyone.

But where will we see this new growth happening? We’ve been asked what trends we’ve seen in the commercial construction industry this year, so without further ado, here’s our Baratto Brothers Construction list of trends as we head into 2016.

  1. Green is in. Regardless of the type of commercial construction, all across the country we’re seeing a trend toward green and smart building design. The Brainerd Lakes Area is no exception. It seems everyone wants to incorporate some aspect of green construction and this can be anything from sustainable building materials, utilizing renewable energy options, or energy efficient designs, appliances, and materials, or incorporating recycled products and building materials. We’re not just seeing this trend in new construction, either – renovations and remodels are also finding unique ways to ride the green wave.
  2. Renovations. Retail renovations have been making a comeback in 2015, and we predict that we’ll see this happening as we go forward into 2016. Many of the commercial construction projects we’ve seen are in retail renovations, and especially restaurants and hospitality. This has been a good year to modernize, freshen up, and streamline their look and feel to be more effective, and efficient – not to mention beautiful.
  3. Multi-family housing. Just take a drive around the Brainerd Lakes Area, or meander through any city in Minnesota and you’ll see the growth happening in the multi-family housing sector. Large apartment complexes and townhomes are popping up all over. Do you have one in your neighborhood?
  4. Restaurants. New restaurant construction is up, as well as renovations. We’ve had the privilege of working on a number of them this past year, too. Watch our commercial construction gallery page for updates to the projects we’ve been working on this year.
  5. Tech time. Technology is making its way into the construction industry and has been for a number of years. From enhancing project management, to increasing productivity, and even keeping our workers safe with various mobile apps and SaaS (Software as a Service). In addition, more and more smart homes and smart commercial buildings are going up, requiring a higher level of technology sophistication. Don’t be surprised to see more iPads and laptops at job sites as the commercial construction industry gets more advanced with tying technology in with projects.

If you’re looking to start a new commercial construction project, renovation, or just curious about what we offer at Baratto Brothers, contact us today by filling out our contact form, stopping in to say hello, or by giving us a call at (218) 692-1070. We’re here to help you sift through your options, and come up with an affordable plan that delivers the results you’re looking for. We’ll do everything we can to become your Commercial Builder for Life.

Baratto Brothers Construction, Inc. Launches Commercial Construction Services

Owner - Jim Baratto

Owner – Jim Baratto

Owner - Ben Baratto

Owner – Ben Baratto

Baratto Brothers Construction owners, Jim Baratto and Ben Baratto, along with Partner and Director of Project Development, Eric Carder, wish to announce the opening of a commercial construction division as well as recent changes to Baratto Brothers Construction, Inc.  With an office and show room in Crosslake, BBC will continue to build custom residential and commercial projects statewide.



Owner, Jim Baratto started Baratto Brothers Construction in 2002.  Jim’s philosophy of craftsmanship and service has been and remains to be one of surrounding himself with craftsmen and employees that embrace honesty and hard work.  He feels it is BBC’s responsibility to create perfection for clients along with a life time commitment to projects no matter how big or small they are.  Jim possesses B.S. in Industrial Technology from Bemidji State University, a Masters from the University of St. Thomas in Curriculum and Instruction, and is Vocationally Certified through the State of MN in Sheet Metal and The Building Trades. 

Owner, Ben Baratto holds 15 years of industry experience.  Ben is a Bemidji State Graduate with a major in Construction Management.  Ben’s expertise resides in field management and custom carpentry. 

Partner - Eric Carder

Partner – Eric Carder


Eric Carder has been recently made Partner in 2014 at Baratto Brothers Construction and is the Director of Project Development.  Carder has been a team member of BBC since 2010 and has 15 years of industry experience.  Carder is a St Cloud State alumnus and is currently working on his MBA.

CFO - Matt Radniecki

CFO – Matt Radniecki


Matt Radniecki was recently promoted to CFO of Baratto Brothers Construction.  Radniecki has been with BBC since 2013.  Radniecki’s expertise is in management having earned his B.A. in Business Management from the College of Saint Scholastica as well as eight years of experience. Additionally, Radniecki will be receiving his CMA this spring and serves on the Executive Board of Directors as Treasurer for the Mid-Minnesota Builders Association.

Director of Commercial Construction - Eric Halbert

Director of Commercial Construction – Eric Halbert


Returning to the Brainerd Lakes area and joining the BBC team is Eric Halbert as the Director of Commercial Construction. Halbert has 19 years of experience and graduated earning a B.S. in Industrial Technology with a concentration in Construction Management from Bemidji State University. Halbert’s portfolio of completed projects ranges from 50 thousand dollar office build-outs to 12 million dollar retail structures.  Currently, Halbert is providing Project Management Services for the construction of the new Hampton Inn Hotel in Hibbing, MN and breaking ground this week on an addition for American National Bank of Pequot lakes, MN.

Project Development - Leah Nolan Heggerston

Project Development – Leah Nolan Heggerston



Another addition to the BBC Project Development team is Leah Nolan Heggerston.  Leah has 20 years of experience in Marketing & Sales in the construction and real estate industry.  Leah is a College of Saint Benedicts alumnus.  Heggerston holds a MN real estate license, owns Pallet MN Lumber Mill, and has her own consulting company for land use projects.




Baratto Brothers Construction professionals will to bring the same honesty, integrity, Project Management techniques, craftsmanship and attention to detail to the commercial division that the residential division is known for since established in 2002.Commercial Construction In Brainerd