Chances are, every hardware store you’ve ever been in is a bastions of toxic products, from paint thinners loaded with methylene chloride to carpet cleaners containing perchloroethylene (“PERC”). For stores that encourage a DIY culture that theoretically would reduce one’s carbon footprint (in their own ways, these stores inspire us to renovate, improve and revive furniture and dwellings), they likely do more than their share to worsen our environments.
Which is why TreeHouse, a green home-improvement store located in Austin, Texas, is franchising with its second location opening in Dallas this Friday.
The 35,000-square-foot store is situated alongside another 10,000 square feet allocated for outdoor landscaping services. Everything that will be sold at TreeHouse is green: non-toxic, eco-friendly, made with natural ingredients, and with less of an environmental footprint to leave behind.
Big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot now have plenty of green products sidled up along their artificial counterparts: nontoxic paints next to VOC-riddled options, and LED bulbs a few inches from traditional CFLs. But that’s caused some entrepreneurs to sit up and take notice: Why not have a whole store like that?
So companies like Green Depot and Green Building Supply have taken the legwork out of looking for recycled insulation here, eco-friendly paint there, by offering a centralized shopping place for green home improvement products. TreeHouse is doing that and more, by angling to become “the Whole Foods of home improvement.”
In addition to selling green products, TreeHouse is an energy-positive store in that it creates its own power through solar. That energy is stored in a Tesla battery wall that can feed back into the city’s energy grid. TreeHouse reps are also more than happy to order consultations for residential properties to have the same: from sustainable floors and rainwater catchment systems to solar power and green insulation.
Jason Ballard, TreeHouse’s co-founder and CEO studied biology and ecology in order to understand the effects humans have on the environment—and how the environment affects our health. He had the idea for TreeHouse while working in green building in Colorado and approached Garrett Boone, co-founder of The Container Store, who agreed to invest in TreeHouse. The first of the green home-improvement stores opened in Austin in 2011.
"The point is to provoke the industry. We don’t think green, sustainable building will be niche. Our whole mission is to normalize it." - Jason Ballard via @fastcompany. Discover how TreeHouse is reinventing the #HomeImprovement space. Link in bio. #sustainablebuilding #buildingscience #netzero #sustainability
By April of 2015, TreeHouse had seen 10 straight quarters of growth that included a 60-percent, year-over-year revenue spike in 2014. It just made sense to grow, executives told My Statesman. Ballard hopes to expand to 20 TreeHouses by 2022, with a bigger goal beyond that of 300 stores throughout the United States and reach 80 percent of all American homes, he told NationSwell.
In the meantime, TreeHouse’s sights on set on its second Dallas-Fort Worth location in Plano, Texas. “For our most pressing environmental and human health challenges,” the TreeHouse website says, “all roads lead to the home.”