How To Start a Green Building Showroom


Green building is expected to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy in coming decades, due to the increased demand for energy-efficient and non-toxic homes and commercial buildings.

Green building showrooms are a great green business opportunity for people who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about green building materials and practices. Green building showrooms offer customers an opportunity to not only learn about the environmental benefits of a particular green product or finish, they also give customers the opportunity to walk on the flooring, see the cabinets, touch the drapes, and generally experience the beauty and comfort of green building materials firsthand.

One way to really offer a hands-on demonstration of the benefits of green building materials is to construct your showroom out of some of the same green building supplies that it will offer to customers. If a 100% green building is not possible, adding green finishes such as paint, blinds, or furnishings is a good start.

Green building showrooms typically carry materials that are:

  • sustainably produced or harvested
  • recycled or salvaged
  • non-toxic and low VOC
  • energy efficient
  • water saving
  • locally made
  • fair trade certified

These may include products such as bamboo flooring, recycled glass tiles and countertops, natural wool carpet, EnergyStar certified home appliances, LED lighting, programmable thermostats, dual flush toilets, low VOC paints and sealants, and much more.

Many green building showrooms take their role as educators just as seriously as they do their role as a supplier of eco-friendly and non-toxic building supplies. It is extremely important for green building showroom owners and employees to be able to talk knowledgeably and honestly about the advantages and disadvantages of each product, both from an environmental and from a practical standpoint. Many green building showrooms also offer classes and workshops for interested local homeowners and building professionals.

Some green building showrooms extend their commitment to environmental and social responsibility by other means, such as delivering products in biodiesel-powered trucks, printing advertising materials on recycled paper with natural inks, and partnering with local green contractors and other green businesses to help promote each other’s businesses.

Three Green Building Showrooms Designing a Greener World

ecohome-improvementEcohome Improvement is a Berkeley, California based eco-friendly home improvement store. In addition to a full line of green building materials and products, including flooring, cabinetry, energy-efficient appliances, paints, and more, Ecohome Improvement also offers several unique services such as the Paint Bar, a color matching service that replicates the colors of popular conventional paint brands with eco-friendly low VOC paints, and the interactive Design Bar, which allows customers to use full size samples of tiles, countertops, flooring, and other products to visualize their new room.

straw-sticks-bricksWith showrooms in Kansas City, Missouri and Lincoln, Nebraska, Straw Sticks & Bricks is one of the Midwest’s premier suppliers of green building materials. Founded in 2001, the company stocks a full line of eco-friendly building materials and hardware, including eco-friendly flooring, lighting, insulation, wall finishes and more. In addition to their local showroom, Straw Sticks & Bricks ships products nationwide from their online store.

originateOriginate, located in Tucson, Arizona, is a green building materials showroom specializing in durable, non-toxic building supplies made from renewable resources. In addition to a full line of green building products, including everything from bamboo flooring and low-VOC paints to composting toilets and ethanol fireplaces, Originate stocks a variety of unique salvaged materials, such as reclaimed hardwood flooring, antique door hardware, and vintage cast iron bathtubs.

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Main Image Credit: Jeremy Levine Design

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