Update: Al Gore goes green at home with a LEED renovation and solar roof

We’ve previously mentioned the weird irony of the sustainable design of the George W Bush house in Crawford, compared to Al Gore’s giant mansion in Tennessee.

But Treehugger.com and ENN.com report that Gore is almost finished with renovations that will make his house in Nashville a true green home. He is going for LEED certification, which is a recognized US standard for green building in the United States. (We’re working on a LEED renovation ourselves!)

Evidently, zoning issues in his neighborhood were preventing him from going solar sooner.

Here’s the Associated Press interview about his renovation.

Earlier this year, a conservative group criticized Gore, citing electric bills that were far more than the typical Nashville home. Utility records showed the Gore family paid an average monthly electric bill of about $1,200 last year for its 10,000-square-foot home.

Gore’s renovation project, which he said has been in the works for months, seeks to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Once his upscale neighborhood changed zoning laws earlier this year, Gore was able to place solar panels on his roof, and he’s now preparing to install a geothermal system that will, among other things, drastically reduce the cost of heating his pool.

Gore is also upgrading windows and ductwork, installing more energy-efficient light bulbs and creating a rainwater collection system for irrigation and water management.

Congratulations on the new renovation. I’m glad to hear there is an explanation of why Gore’s house wasn’t greener in the first place.

TJR July 12, 2007 at 11:46 am

I doubt there is any geothermal energy available in Nashville, unless Gore went down far enough to hit magma. Geothermal energy is using water heated by volcanic activity, such as Old Faithful in Yellowstone or the steam springs in Iceland. Using 55 degree water from the ground for heating or cooling is NOT Geothermal energy. Ask the IRS. I don’t see how using 55 degree water is going to reduce the cost of heating a pool which needs to be above 75 to be comfortable.

Sk8rAl November 27, 2007 at 9:32 am

I apologize if this has been covered since the first comment was made to this post. But, geothermal heating/cooling systems are NOT dependent on volcanic activity. My parents recently installed a geothermal heating/cooling system in west-central Wisconsin – a location with zero volcanic activity, and gets much colder than Nashville. Additionally, it’s not even a vertical system – the field is laid out laterally about 6-8 feet below the surface – supposed to maintain about 65 degrees.

I don’t really know the details of how the whole thing works, but it somehow utilizes the difference in temperature to generate heat or cool. They’ve already made it through one Wisconsin winter, and the house stays nice and warm.

JDM December 17, 2007 at 3:02 pm

TJR does not understand how Geothermal works. First it is a heatpump system. A typical above ground heatpump system pulls the heat out of the air. However, when it is extremely cold outside there is not much heat to extract, therefore your emergency heat kicks in and your electric meter spins rapidly. Geothermal is based on the same idea except that at a certain depth below ground the temperature is constant. Therfore when the heat pump extracts the heat it is pulling from a constant ground tempature and running super effecient. Check out Waterfurnace.com. There is a great amount of information on how it works.

stevew December 18, 2007 at 2:29 pm

Actually, TJR is not entirely incorrect. Calling a geothermal heating system geothermal is not technically correct…but it has now become the standard term and there is not point fighting it. Sorta like calling the starter relay on a ford a solenoid. It’s not a solenoid but thats what the parts books call it.

But yeah, you can heat a pool to 75 degrees with 55 degree water…heat pumps are wonderous things.

puddnheadwilson October 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Why was Gore living in a neighborhood that did not allow solar panels? How odd.

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