TreeHouse Arrives in Dallas with Ecological Options
Jason Ballard, CEO and co-founder
TreeHouse, an environmentally conscious home improvement store that has thrived in its hometown of Austin since 2011, is opening a second location at 8021 Walnut Hill, in Dallas, this month. TreeHouse comprises every department typically found at most big-box retail home improvement stores, but with a different product mix that includes healthy and sustainable selections and services to help homeowners live more eco-friendly without compromising design, comfort or convenience.
The new store has 35,000 square feet of selling space, and Jason Ballard, founder and CEO has included an educational component to help shoppers with product selection and installation services such as solar power, insulation and flooring.
TreeHouse practices what it preaches. The Dallas location was constructed as a net-zero energy building powered by solar panels, plus Tesla battery power packs. “It’s the first commercial building in the world to run completely on solar power and batteries,” says Ballard. Architects also designed the new store with many of the products and technology TreeHouse sells.
Dallas proved to be a logical choice for TreeHouse’s second location. Although the store in Austin—a city known for embracing environmentally friendly practices—has been well received, Ballard wants to prove the concept will also work well in other markets. “We are not a niche company. People want healthy, sustainable, high-performance homes,” he says. “This should be the new normal, and Dallas has a reputation as a sophisticated, successful, city with a diverse population.”
TreeHouse’s investor community is also from Dallas, and has been supporting the business for a long time, so Ballard sees the expansion as a chance to give back. TreeHouse also conducted demographic research based on their Austin customer base, and Dallas also proved to have a strong potential market.
Two categories in which TreeHouse excels, Ballard says, are smart-home technology to make living safe and comfortable through energy- and water-efficient strategies; and healthy homes, with services to help customers achieve a non-toxic living environment through measures such as air and water filtration, natural lighting, noise control, healthy cleaning and healthy cooking.
“We were probably the first company in the world to figure out how to retail solar as a product and make it an easy, turnkey process,” Ballard adds. TreeHouse has a retail partnership with Tesla to sell its residential batteries.
TreeHouse also has a focus on home design, which includes flooring, cabinetry, countertops, paint, flooring and other home products that meet TreeHouse ecological and human health standards for upgrading the look and feel of a home.
From childhood, Ballard had a keen eye for observing the contrasting relationship between humans and nature. He grew up in the Big Thicket region of Southeast Texas—the most biodiverse region of the lower 48 states—however; his hometown was also near one of the largest concentrations of petrochemical refineries in the world. “I grew up in this endemic ecological paradise, and next to the destruction and desecration of it at the same time,” he reflects.
While studying conservation biology at Texas A&M, Ballard noticed how buildings are primary users of energy and water, yet nobody seemed to be working on that issue. “I threw myself into the green building movement, and I realized that there needed to be a place that curated products, designed services and acted as an information hub about all this. That was the seed that became TreeHouse,” he says.
TreeHouse will open a third store in Plano this fall next to a Whole Foods location, and Ballard says TreeHouse won’t stop expanding at the Texas border, especially with the adverse affects of environmental degradation now prominent. “We’re racing against the clock to create as many environmentally sound homes as possible, as quickly as possible,” he emphasizes. “We don’t have 100 years to figure out these issues. Our ecological and human health issues are urgent.”
For more information, visit Tree.House.com
Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.