I was astounded by the irony of this, so I thought I would share it.
I’m sure everyone has probably heard by now about how Al Gore’s house in Tennessee uses somewhere around 20 times more electricity than the national average.
As someone who has personally taken steps to reduce my own electricity usage by switching out lightbulbs, using a programmable thermostat and switching to Green Mountain Energy for my electricity, I can say that I am personally disappointed.
Sure, all offsets his carbon usage, but can’t he help set a better example for us? Why wouldn’t he take some steps to really green up his house, since he obviously has the money for it.
Maybe he should call George W, and ask for his advice!
I had completely forgotten about this until I read this terrific blog post reminding me that Bush’s ranch house in Crawford was built from the ground up with sustainability in mind.
Here is an excerpt from the post, which I encourage you to check out.
The 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude.
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.
No, this is not the home of some eccentrically wealthy eco-freak trying to shame his fellow citizens into following the pristineness of his self-righteous example. And no, it is not the wilderness retreat of the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council, a haven where tree-huggers plot political strategy.
That sounds like a â€œGore house.â€ Can you believe that they are describing the Crawford, Texas ranch of President Bush? Believe me, I am no George Bush fan, but what kind of bizzaro world is this if Bush has a lower carbon footprint than Gore? And given the size of Bushâ€™s ranch house in comparison to what I expect is the size of Goreâ€™s mansion, I would say that is a distinct possibility.
FYI, Gore’s mansion in question is approximately 10,000 square feet, compared to the President’s ranch house, which is around 4,000.
Like I said before, is that ironic, or what?
I guess it’s right up there with the irony of George W Bush as the governor of Texas jumpstarting the state into becoming the biggest generator of wind energy in the US.
Pat Wood, a friend of the president, was chairman of Texasâ€™s Public Utility Commission when the push for wind energy started.
â€œAt the end of a meeting on transmission policy in mid-1996,â€ he recalled, â€œI was on my way out the door of the governorâ€™s office, when Governor Bush said to me, â€˜Pat, we like wind.â€™ He was at his desk. I said, â€˜We what?â€™ He said: â€˜You heard me. Go get smart on wind.â€™ â€
Mr. Wood, his fellow commissioners and the Texas utilities did just that. They conducted polls and were stunned by the results: Texas electricity customers were ready to pay a little extra to get more clean renewable energy. So Mr. Bush instructed Mr. Wood to work on wind with the utilities and the environmentalists. Together, they created the Texas Renewable Portfolio Mandate, which Mr. Bush got passed by the Texas Legislature in 1999, as part of a power competition bill. The mandate stipulated that Texas power companies had to produce 2,000 new megawatts of electricity from renewables, mostly wind, by 2009.
What happened? A dozen new companies jumped into the Texas market and built wind turbines to meet the mandate â€” so many that the 2,000-megawatt goal was reached in 2005. So now the Texas Legislature has upped the mandate to 5,000 megawatts by 2015. Everyone knows theyâ€™ll beat that, too, because all this investment has driven down the costs and made wind power in Texas competitive with clean coal, nuclear and natural gas, even without the temporary tax break. Mr. Wood says he thinks Texas could be producing 15 percent of all its energy from renewables by 2015.
My brain hurts just thinking about it!