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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Beyond the Big Box

A Spotlight on Amicus Green Building Center

There is an undeniable trend in our area and throughout the country, where many individuals are beginning to understand that the path to wholeness is achieved beyond eating a healthy diet and getting the right amount of exercise. What goes into the body is just as important as the environment in which a body dwells. Likewise, as many search for sustainable, farm-raised, locally sourced and organic foods at farmer’s markets and grocery stores, they are now also seeking products and materials that reflect their desire not to harm our planet as they build, renovate and furnish their homes. This is where Amicus Green Building Center, in Kensington, comes in. Since 2005, the staff at Amicus has been offering a wonderful alternative to the big box stores for those looking to do small and large projects in their homes.

Specifically, Amicus is a design center and home improvement store that takes a fresh approach to creating spaces—fostering fresh designs, fresh air and water. No matter the homeowners’ or renters’ goals or budget, they have products and expertise can help create a wonderful space that looks fantastic and feels great. Their stated mission is to “help people live, work, play and pray in sustainable, comfortable, healthy, affordable and responsible buildings.”

According to the founder, Jason Holstine, the motivation to open Amicus grew out of his desire to grow a green business that makes a real difference. “I was drawn to the concept of green building because it can address so many aspects of environmental and health living—protecting forests, waters, air, flora and fauna; minimizing energy waste; making people more comfortable healthy, and productive; and protecting our neighbors and economy by supporting domestic jobs. It really is an all-encompassing action that can move the needle,” notes Holstine.

One doesn’t need to be a homeowner to get value from the services offered at Amicus. They also work with renters and professionals in the building trades, including architects and designers. Many area homeowners turn to Amicus first when they want to embark on kitchen, bath or bedroom remodeling projects. They also can supply products and expertise for home additions, new residential construction and commercial projects.

“In addition to working on full projects, we also work with many people needing to solve problems—like to block offgassing paints and finishes (although of course the better bet would be using our products to begin with), or to put the right flooring or carpet down,” notes Holstine. “Without a doubt, our greatest value is to help people think through their decision process and create designs, all without having to worry about the health or environmental considerations, because those elements are already baked in.”

What they do at Amicus, and the services that they provide, are just as important as the way that they do business. Just as their name implies (amicus means friend in Latin) they strive to bring products, principles and practices that are friendly and support their customers, as well as their wallet, while protecting the planet. They pledge to screen every product for health, environmental integrity and durability, with a priority on those made as locally as possible.

Customers don’t need to compromise on quality, or overpay for products when they shop at Amicus. A common refrain from regular patrons at Amicus is “Thanks for being here.” Holstine suggests that his customers and customers-to-be are seeking avenues in all aspects of their lives to take a positive stand. “We continue to work on more projects—of all sizes and scopes—and the current political climate tells us that our resolute work is as important as ever.”

Location: 4080A Howard Ave., Kensington, Maryland, in the West Howard Antiques District. For more information, visit

November 2020


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