Where do I find sources of Earth-friendly building supplies and materials?

Where do I find sources of Earth-friendly building supplies and materials?

—Rich Duriff, San Francisco, CA

More contractors and property owners have chosen to work with environmentally friendly building supplies over the last decade than ever before. But even though big box building supply stores like Home Depot are beefing up their environmentally friendly inventories, green building specialty stores are where you”ll find the widest selection of non-toxic and ecologically-sound products—everything from cabinetry to flooring to paints, solvents and insulation. Additionally, staff at these stores can give much needed advice, and can also provide referrals to contractors well versed in relevant techniques and technologies.

“Our definition of quality requires us to look at what happens over the entire life of a product,” says Lisa DiMartino of Seattle’s Environmental Home Center, which sells non-toxic paints, natural carpets, sustainable wood products, energy-efficient insulation and organic cleaning supplies. The store’s procurement staff examines products from a wide range of perspectives before putting in any orders, according to DiMartino.

Environmental Construction Outfitters in New York City’s Bronx borough is a green building supplies retail store that prides itself on its ongoing research into state-of-the-art sustainable building solutions. “We specialize in consulting with architects, designers, developers and end-users—and finding them the best products for their specific needs,” says company founder Paul Novack. The store offers environmentally friendly lighting, roofing, bedding, water filters and many other green products.

Not in Seattle or the Bronx? Many retailers have expanded far beyond their regions by going online. The Northwest Builders Network runs an Internet-based “Environmental Store” that sells construction-related books, software and calculators, as well as energy efficient lighting, recycled plastic benches, tables and yard accessories. They also carry non-toxic paints, oils, stains and many other building and design products.

Likewise, the Building for Health Materials Center, which bills itself as “one-stop shopping for healthy and environmentally sound building materials and home comforts,” stocks and ships everything from landscaping elements to building supplies to interior décor. Other green retailers with a strong online presence include Phoenix Organics, Environmental Building Supplies and Living Green.

CONTACTS: Environmental Home Center, (206) 682-7332, www.environmentalhomecenter.com; Environmental Construction Outfitters, (800) 238-5008, www.environproducts.com; Northwest Builders Network, (888) 810-8296, www.nwbuildnet.com; Building for Health Materials Center, (800) 292-4838, www.buildingforhealth.com; Phoenix Organics, (541) 535-1134, www.phoenixorganics.com; Environmental Building Supplies, (503) 222-3881, www.ecohaus.com; Living Green, (805) 966-1319, www.livingreen.com.