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Is Al Gore's retrofitted home self-indulgent?

Is the home energy-efficient? How! What part involves the environmental change?

Asked by Zakeria Thomas
Posted Mar 11, 2011 2:21 PM ET
Edited Mar 11, 2011 2:49 PM ET

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1.

Zakeria,
This is an old story dating back at least four years. I reported two News Brief items on the story in Energy Design Update. Here's what I wrote:

April 2007:
Gore Gets an A For Preaching But a D For Practice
NASHVILLE, TN --- Former vice president Al Gore recently faced an embarrassing disclosure: the 2006 utility bills for his 10,000-square-foot suburban home totaled $29,268 -- about $1,200 per month for electricity and $1,080 per month for natural gas. The home’s landscaping features reportedly include exterior gas lanterns and a heated swimming pool. Gore defended his energy consumption, noting that he pays a premium for electricity from a green power program. According to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a conservative think tank, Gore’s 2006 usage of 191,000 kWh was almost 20 times the national average residential usage of 10,656 kWh. Kalee Kreider, a Gore spokesperson, said that “the bottom line is that every family has a different carbon footprint.”

February 2008:
Gore Completes Energy Retrofit Of His Mansion
BELLE MEADE, TN -- At Al Gore’s mansion in Belle Meade, a suburb of Nashville, contractors recently completed several energy-efficiency projects, including the installation of a photovoltaic array and a ground-source heat pump. Gore’s reputation as a crusader against global climate change was bruised last year when it was revealed that he was using 16,000 kWh per month at his Belle Meade home. Gore’s 2007 electricity bills were 11% lower than those of 2006. According to the Associated Press, “Electricity usage at the home remains well above regional averages.” Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, pointed out that, in light of the home’s size (10,000 square feet), opportunities to save energy are somewhat limited. “We all need to evaluate what we legitimately need in square footage,” said Smith.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Mar 11, 2011 2:32 PM ET
Edited Mar 11, 2011 2:33 PM ET.

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