Who do you think owns this house?
The 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude.George W. Bush. Which makes it bad, right?
Geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees; the water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. Systems such as the one in this "eco-friendly" dwelling use about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize.
A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. Plants and flowers native to the high prairie area blend the structure into the surrounding ecosystem.
Yes, the same George W. who believes arsenic and drinking water might not be such a bad combo, the same man who reneged on his campaign promise to lower carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the same man who is doing everything in his power to fling open the Alaskan Natural Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.Perhaps.
How does the President reconcile an eco-friendly abode for his own family with his persistent stand against anything that smacks of an environmentally friendly agenda for the nation as a whole? The answer to that perplexing question is a real mystery.
Perhaps sound ecological practices are only for those who can afford them: as a self-proclaimed strict constructionist of the U.S. Constitution, Bush must be aware that clean air and clean water are not guaranteed in that glorious document. Perhaps in Bush's Brave New Corporate World, clean natural resources are merely commodities in a free-market economy: if you can pay for them, fine; if not, tough. The rest of us will just have to put up with more toxic dumps and more public lands being turned over to logging, mining and oil companies.
Reading further about Al Gore's huge energy needs, the response made by Al Gore's spokeswoman Kalee Krider (krazy name, krazy gal), shows he has been sorely traduced:
"Every family has a different carbon footprint," said Kalee Krider, a spokeswoman for Gore. The Gores' 10,000-square-foot house on Lynnwood Boulevard has a large one.As the Anchoress points out, this means Gore is using a lot of alternative energy rather than cutting back, as he would have everyone else do, and in fact as Bush seems to have done in Crawford. But it's OK - Gore can afford the offsets.
They use compact fluorescent light bulbs and are in the midst of a renovation project that includes having solar panels installed on their home to reduce fossil fuel consumption, she said.
Their car? A Lexis hybrid SUV.
"They, of course, also do the carbon emissions offset," she said.
That means figuring out how much carbon is emitted from home power use, and vehicle and plane travel, then paying for projects that will offset that with use of renewable energy, such as solar power.
Gore helped found Generation Investment Management, through which he and others pay for offsets.
Or, as they are increasingly being called, carbon indulgences. (Yes, that's a link to George Monbiot's website. Seems he and the Goreacle need to synchronise songsheets.)
UPDATE: Even better, if you're rich and in the movies you don't even need to buy your indulgences:
This year's Oscar goodie bag contained gift certificates representing 100,000 pounds of greenhouse gas reductions from TerraPass, which describes itself as a "carbon offset retailer." The 100,000 pounds "are enough to balance out an average year in the life of an Academy Award presenter," a press release from TerraPass assertsVia Libertas