The antithesis of the typical big-box home improvement store, green retailer TreeHouse officially opened its doors in metropolitan Dallas on June 2, in a groundbreaking new building designed out of the gate to produce more energy than it consumes. But achieving the goal of being the first energy-positive large retail store was just one of the many objectives TreeHouse Co-founder and CEO Jason Ballard had in mind when he broke ground in the revitalized The Hill Shopping Center on June 22, 2016. And chief among them: His ongoing effort to enable America to build much healthier houses—a point he drove home as he opened an invitation-only premiere gala on the eve of the store’s public debut. “Our houses are killing us,” said Ballard as he launched the private company’s second store from the balcony of its Home School classroom area, “and that ends, here and now.”
TreeHouse Dallas premiere: Not your average store. And not your average storefront.
And the first Dallas-Fort Worth area customers approaching the store the next morning could see Ballard is quite serious about that, as a sign over the front doors encapsulated the TreeHouse mission: Making homes beautiful, healthy, and sustainable. Taking a few more steps into the store, they could browse a dedicated Healthy Home section filled with aisles of home products designed to be toxin-free or promote a healthier lifestyle. Certainly, an emphasis on healthy dwellings is a recurring theme here. For example, they could visit the Paint Studio, which is stocked with human- and environment-friendly paints and wall finishes. Or tour the expansive Design Studio—where they could collaborate with TreeHouse designers and consultants to plan the transformation of their homes with choices on healthy flooring, cabinets, countertops, and much more.
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On the sustainable point of the TreeHouse mission, there is a similar, maniacal focus, a posture evident in the design and operation of the building itself, and certainly in the products and services dispensed inside. As Ballard noted in his comments at the premiere event, “This is the first energy-positive big-box store, and we will never use a watt of grid energy.”
As we have covered extensively in our exclusive The Emerald Aisles of TreeHouse interview series with Ballard, the Lake|Flato-architected facility is graced with a unique sawtooth-shaped roof that serves as a willing perch for 539 south-facing solar panels. The solar arrays sustainably energize the store during the day, while saving excess energy production to a pair of industrial-strength Tesla Powerpacks to electrify the store after the sun goes down.
Before and after: A signature feature of the TreeHouse Dallas location, this legacy oak tree survived a nearly-year-long construction cycle.
Inside, a High Performance House section with a sustainably-modeled skeleton home continue to emphasize the mantra, where customers can see how various components—such as ceiling fans, metal roofing, windows, skylights, and sun tunnels—can come together to deliver on energy efficiency, livability, and longevity.
A Performance Lab area offers informed guidance on wall insulation technologies, water heating, water filtration and conservation, and heating and cooling systems—and integrates a super-insulated sound-proof quiet room. A Smart Home pavilion grants ready access to an extensive selection of carefully curated products designed to provide meaningful tech enhancements for energy savings, convenience, security, and more—where customers can purchase directly off the shelf or take advantage of turnkey installation and support services. And a Professional Power Tools section showcases the entire line of the often-coveted Festool power tool products imported from Germany.
In a departure from the company’s flagship store in Austin, Texas, this new location also has an extensive open-air Outdoor Center, populated with a selection of locale-appropriate plants and outdoor products.
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