View Full Version : a tale of 2 houses

Richard Stanley
04-03-2007, 12:49 PM
Subject: A Tale Of Two Houses

House 1:

The four-bedroom home was planned so that "every room has a relationship
with something in the landscape that's different from the room next door..
Each of the rooms feels like a slightly different place." The resulting
single-story house is a paragon of environmental planning.

The passive-solar house is built of honey-colored native
limestone and positioned to absorb winter sunlight, warming the interior
walkways and walls of the 4,000-square-foot residence.

Geothermal heat pumps circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in
the ground. These waters pass through a heat exchange system that keeps the
home warm in winter and cool in summer. A 25,000-gallon underground
cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof urns; wastewater from sinks,
toilets, and showers cascades into underground purifying tanks and is also
funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is then used to
irrigate the landscaping around the four-bedroom home, (which) uses
indigenous grasses, shrubs, and flowers to complete the exterior treatment
of the home. In addition to its minimal environmental impact, the look
and layout of the house reflect one of the paramount priorities:

A spacious 10-foot porch wraps completely around the residence and beckons
the family outdoors. With few hallways to speak of, family and guests make
their way from room to room either directly or by way of the porch. "The
house doesn't hold you in. Where the porch ends there is grass. There is no
step-up at all." This house consumes 25% of the energy of an average
American home. (Source: Cowboys and Indians Magazine, Oct. 2002 and
Chicago Tribune April 2001.)

House 2:

This 20-room, 8-bathroom house consumes more electricity every month than
the average American household uses in an entire year. The average
household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year,
according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, this house devoured nearly
221,000 kWh, more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone,
the house burned through 22,619 kWh, guzzling more than twice the
electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire
year. As a result of this energy consumption, the average monthly electric
bill topped $1,359.

Also, natural gas bills for this house and guest house averaged $1,080 per
month last year. In total, this house had nearly $30,000 in combined
electricity and natural gas bills for 2006. (Source: just about anywhere
in the news last month online and on talk radio, but barely on TV.)

House 1 belongs to George and Laura Bush, and is in Crawford, Texas.

House 2 belongs to Al and Tipper Gore, and is in Nashville, Tennessee.

Phillip Stojanik
04-03-2007, 01:11 PM
Oh the irony! :)

Tim Moreira
04-03-2007, 03:32 PM
And to think I cringe at my $160.00 electric bill.


John Arnold
04-03-2007, 04:28 PM
"George Bush and Prince Abdullah stroll through spring flowers at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. " AP

Tim Moreira
04-03-2007, 05:02 PM
Why are they holding hands?

Is that a middle eastern custom?

Would make me feel uneasy to have a grown man hold my hand while we walked.

Gosh, I gotta go take a shower now. :)

Bruce Breedlove
04-03-2007, 06:11 PM
Of course Gore's utility bill is higher than Bush's. Bush isn't living in his house. And, judging by Gore's weight gain, he does a lot of cooking. ;)

John Arnold
04-04-2007, 06:01 AM
Tim - Yes, that is a middle eastern custom. But it gives me the creeps for other reasons.

Michael Thomas
04-04-2007, 08:08 AM
Gore’s house:


is replicated thousands of times in the older suburbs north of Chicago near the lake.

It’s pretty typical of how the more successful professionals and corporate types at about the VP level live in my area if they live in an older home – smaller than the largest “estate” type residences, but larger than many similarly styled and constructed homes in the same area - all of them difficult to justify updating to higher standards of energy efficiently once you have picked the low-hanging fruit increased attic insulation and the like.

What I find of more concern is that the people building new McMansions in the same areas will spend $125,000 on a kitchen, but baulk at $1,250 for increased energy efficiency.

And while I applaud Bush’s decision to live in a more energy efficient structure, the picture that sticks in my mind is the one of Bush sitting in an idling heavy-duty pickup just inside the gates at Crawford - waiting for the arrival of some member of the Saudi ruling family.

As a nation, that's the immediate problem.