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TreeHouse Branches Out


A start-up home improvement retailer with a green conscience has expanded out of its Austin, Texas, home with a first-of-its-kind store that’s generating lots of buzz.

TreeHouse has opened the nation’s first home improvement “energy positive” (meaning it will generate more energy than it uses) store, at The Hill, a shopping center in Dallas. It’s the start-up retailer’s second location — but not for long. An additional store, planned for the Plano, Texas, area, is due to open this fall.

TreeHouse wears its heart on its sleeve — and does so proudly. Its mission statement is painted on the wall: “We exist to make homes beautiful, healthy and sustainable. For everyone.”

The 35,000-sq.-ft store is bright and inviting, accented with light woods and plants. It offers a carefully curated selection of products, materials and technologies — some not available elsewhere — designed to promote healthy and sustainable dwellings, with an emphasis on performance and design. An outdoor section emphasizes “water-wise” native plants.

TreeHouse also offers an array of design and turnkey services, along with in-store classes on topics that range from composting to solar power.

“TreeHouse is reinventing home improvement with the twin goals of ecological and human health,” the company explains on its website. “Our core principles are applied to everything in the store. From thoughtful and innovative products to comprehensive, high-quality services — every element is designed to build a better home.”


TreeHouse practices what it preaches. In designing the store, San Antonio-based architectural firm Lake Flato used TreeHouse’s approach to products and materials selection, with the principles of health and sustainability in mind.

The firm tracked the energy use of TreeHouse Austin, using the location as a guide to model the expected energy use of the new store. It then quantified how much electricity could be saved through the use of daylight, LED lighting and heat-load reduction tactics.

The Dallas outpost features a unique, south-facing saw-tooth roof that is positioned to maximize the effectiveness of its giant, ultra high-efficiency solar array, which is composed of more than 500 solar panels. The position generates the most solar energy possible while blocking the sun from directly entering the interior and creating more heat.

North-facing clerestory windows bring daylight inside the space to allow minimal use of electric fixtures and to provide excellent interior light quality. With this tactic, the store is able to run on daylight until sunset each day.

A Tesla Powerpack (a rechargeable battery storage system for utility and commercial applications) is on display at the center of the store. It stores the power produced by the rooftop solar array, deploying it for evening use and allowing the building to return excess renewable energy to the city’s grid.

The building was also designed around a large legacy oak tree that stands on the property. The tree presented challenges during the nearly yearlong construction cycle. But it was left in place, showcasing TreeHouse’s commitment to design integrated with nature.

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