Anyone still doubting whether the green movement has staying power should note the sheer magnitude of The Home Depot's announcement in April launching a green products branding program. Not only must the investment in marketing, labeling, displays, and education be astronomical, the retailer says it expects revenue from Eco Options?branded products to total $1 billion to $2.8 billion in its first year. That's up to 3% of the company's sales, based on last year's figures.

The Atlanta-based company says more than 2,500 SKUs will fall under the Eco Options label, though Home Depot vice president of environmental innovation Ron Jarvis hopes the number eventually will climb to 3,500, or about 10% of SKUs. Eco Options products are branded based on being environmentally friendly by definition, the company says, such as solar-powered lighting; based on already having achieved status such as Energy Star or the Forest Stewardship Council; or as determined by a third-party certifier. Jarvis reports that the company is finding that most of the products are priced competitively with standard products.

As part of the launch, Home Depot created a Web site with information, product guides, and calculators. Jarvis says each store will have Green Team Captains on staff responsible for the program.

Though many of the products are decidedly DIY, pro dealers still may want to pay attention to how the program is received by pros and consumers alike. Jarvis says the Eco Options program will eventually roll over to its HD Supply pro division for those products that cross over.

The concept certainly could catch on with contractors. Monterey, Calif.?based Hayward Lumber has found success with the EnviroSmart green product?branding program it has offered its pro customers for the last 10 years. Hayward marketing director Suzanne Scattini reports that sales of EnviroSmart products experienced annual growth of more than 40% over the last three years. Who says you can't go green and still get the green?

–Katy Tomasulo