Demand up for eco-friendly home-building supplies

Consumers have turned on to the benefits of eco-timber, sustainably harvested cork flooring, and low-VOC paint, moving green home-building supplies out of the fringe and into the mainstream. “There’s no question where this is going; it’s hot,” says Timothy Taylor. His company, Environmental Home Center, started up in an 800-square-foot Seattle storefront in 1992; today it’s a multimillion-dollar business Taylor hopes to take nationwide. Established national chains are also noticing the green tint in buyer preferences: Home Depot is testing an “EcoOptions” marketing theme in all of its Canadian stores. For now, the added expense of eco-friendly options means the market is generally restricted to affluent Whole-Foods types, but all involved have high hopes for economies of scale lowering prices to the point that, say, a poor nonprofit employee might be able to afford a new tankless water heater.