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How does Tella Firma contribute to sustainability?

Sustainable_ConstructionWe hear a lot about sustainability throughout business, and the construction industry is no exception.  As one of the largest components of the industrial sector, construction accounts for as much as 10% of the world GDP and around 12% in the U.S.  At Tella Firma, we’re part of a much larger multidisciplinary industry that may have an impact on the environment.  As such, the industry as a whole has both the opportunity and the responsibility to seek ways to utilize sustainable processes and minimize this impact.

Looking around the industry, there are several key areas of focus where stakeholders in the building and construction sector are beginning to make an impact in terms of sustainability: building design, use of materials, energy use, and impact on land.

In the area of design, the concept of “cradle-to-cradle” design is gaining traction, based on the principles of using materials that can later be reconstituted into other products, and designing buildings that can serve multiple purposes.  For example, designs that allow for reconfiguration, that provide easy access for maintenance, and that facilitate replacement of shorter-life-span components, will support the transition from one use to the next.  Cradle-to-cradle builders use production techniques that are not only efficient, but are essentially waste-free.

As construction is believed to consume about half of all resources we take from nature (including about 25% of the wood harvest), building materials are a prime focus in sustainability efforts.  Solutions include not only an increased use of recycled and reclaimed materials, but also innovative efforts such as utilizing recycled construction and demolition (C&D) materials in new construction, thus avoiding the need to mine untouched resources while also eliminating the disposal of construction waste.

On a related note, the selection of materials in the building process also has an impact on energy usage.  Since much of the energy used in construction relates to the production of bulk materials including steel, cement, paper, plastic and aluminum, designing buildings with alternate materials, or with more efficient use of materials, also will reduce energy consumption.

For example, the production of cement, which is indispensable for construction, accounts for about 5% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  Tella Firma’s process for building a slab-on-grade foundation consumes on average 25-30% less concrete than alternate methods, which not only saves money but also helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced through cement production.

The use of land has many potential effects on the environment, caused by factors including deforestation, agriculture and land development.  Some types of land development, such as suburbanization, can contribute to a number of environmental concerns, including increased air pollution and the formation of urban and suburban heat islands.  In addition, land pollution caused by the deposition of solid or liquid waste materials, on the land or underground, is a concern in terms of public health and longer-terms effects on the environment. 

Introducing chemicals into the environment through the land is one particular area of consideration when thinking about sustainability, and Tella Firma is proud that its innovative process for building an elevated slab-on-grade foundation does not require any type of pre-treatment for the soil, such as water or chemical injections that might change the composition of the soil or harm the environment.

One thing is certain: Responsible construction and development must continue, to keep up with growth in population, communities and businesses.  With Tella Firma’s green foundation solution, we’re doing our part to help the construction sector work toward a more sustainable future.


Commercial builders now have a cost-effective solution for larger size projects based on technology proven successful in light commercial applications

(DALLAS—October 10, 2017) Tella Firma Foundations today announced a new heavy-duty commercial version lifting mechanism that is the cornerstone of its successful and patented elevated slab-on-grade foundation technology that has been used in more than 1,000 building sites in Texas and surrounding states.

TellaFirma_HeavyDuty_MechanismThe heavy-duty commercial lifting mechanism is designed for heavier commercial structures that are either large in size or have heavy load requirements such as concrete block interior or exterior walls. The heavy-duty lifting mechanism will allow the structural engineer to increase the spacing between piers because each lifting mechanism can carry a heavier load. The increased spacing will reduce the number of piers required for a typical commercial foundation design and make it more cost effective.

The Tella Firma foundation system is based on commercial engineering principles in practice for more than 50 years. The new mechanism can handle approximately double the load of the standard lifting mechanism. Tella Firma has conducted significant testing and analysis to ensure the new heavy-duty commercial lifting mechanism performs well in terms of both axial and lateral load capacity, wind load capacity, and life expectancy.

According to Jim Fontaine, CEO of Tella Firma, the company continues to innovate and collaborate with the commercial construction industry to develop new sustainable solutions for commercial projects based on their expressed needs. “Now commercial builders have a more cost effective means to take advantage of a solution that has been proven successful in the many foundation installations where our company has provided the technology,” he said.

The new product is currently being considered for several new commercial structures under design, including a school and a city municipal building. Many Independent School District (ISD) and other government buildings require either a crawl space or elevated slab solution, making this a primary market for the Tella Firma product.

Innovation through Technology
A Tella Firma lifting mechanism is an enabling component for the process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation above the ground to create a protective void between the slab and the soil. This innovation isolates the foundation, helping to protect it from damaging soil swells, contractions and movements that may occur in many areas of Texas and the Southwest region, where active soils can cause foundation problems due to movement and settlement.

The Tella Firma lifting mechanism consists of a load-bearing imbed plate that sits atop a pile, a lifting bolt, which bears against the imbed plate, a threaded puck, cast in the bottom of the slab, which accepts the lifting bolt, and a sleeve and cap which prevent concrete slurry from fouling the puck threads during slab concrete placement. The new heavy duty mechanism works with either post-tension or rebar reinforced slabs, and includes a larger lifting puck and larger, heavier bolt to withstand the additional load.

The new heavy-grade commercial lifting mechanism increases the lateral load capacity of the foundation by two to three times. Analysis indicates the solution has a life expectancy of over 100 years under normal conditions.

About Tella Firma Foundations
Dallas-based Tella Firma is a construction technology firm that is revolutionizing the way foundations are built. Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin words meaning “strong home.” Foundations with the company’s product have been installed in residential and light commercial projects in Texas and Colorado, and the company continues to expand into new markets throughout the region. For additional information, visit