Because "smart building" doesn't have to mean hiring someone to do the work for you, check out TreeHouse: a RAD-designed, green home-improvement center from an eclectic team (Former president of Valero? Check. Aspiring Episcopal priest? Check.) who've stocked it with products chosen for sustainability, healthiness, performance, and corporate responsibility (unlike some deadbeats, these corporations never miss a subsidiary support check). What you'll find amongst their aisles:
- A flooring section stocked with origin-traceable FSC wood, 40 types of bamboo, surprisingly attractive wool carpeting, and tiling ranging from recycled glass to reclaimed toilet ceramic, an idea probably hatched while smoking a bowl.
- Outdoor improvements like native plants, xeriscape lawn solutions, battery-operated tools, and wishful-thinking rainwater collection systems from Austin Greenwater.
- Walling alternatives like zero-VOC paints and 40+ types of clay, so many choices, you might as well just roll the Andrew Dice.
- Earth-sexing dude-cessories from solar-charging iPhone cases to ice-replacing whiskey stones.
- Instructional kiosks distinguishing the differences between various kinds of, say, light bulbs, or even toilets, some of which conserve water even as you cannot.
- A project-completion help center staffed by architects, engineers, and interior designers, set up like an Apple Genius Bar, candy intelligence that explains why Steve Jobs was worth even more than 100 Grand.
To keep morale high they're brewing organic coffee from Progress at the front of the store -- so even if you're getting your DIY on, you can still pay someone to do something much better than you ever could.