9 "Green" Monsters: Can a 15,000 SF Mcmansion be Green?
This lovely 9,800 square foot gem has been called "One of the Greenest Luxury Homes Ever Built" and " shows
that high-end real estate can have a small environmental footprint."
A year ago, Preston at JetsonGreen asked "Are we confusing the words "green," "sustainable," "energy efficient," and "small footprint"? You tell me, is this green? Since then, the answer has become even more obvious.
Can a 15,000 SF House be Green?
For a cool $29 mil, you can own the almost complete Aqua Liana, built by Frank McKinney, who calls himself a "maverick daredevil real estate artist." It's LEED registered, and includes:
Solar panels generating enough energy to run the entire home on certain days (generating enough electricity to run 2 average sized homes). When combining the home’s solar use, energy efficient appliances and air-conditioning, insulative characteristics and overall architectural design, the home’s automated bio-feedback system will display its energy efficiency in real time.
Environmentally conscious lighting that cuts down on fixture consumption by 70%.
Enough pools, reflecting ponds, water gardens, misters, waterfalls, strategic landscaping, etc. to drop the site temperature by 2-3 degrees over neighboring properties, thus reducing cooling costs.
A water system that collects enough runoff water from the entire cedar roof to fill an average swimming pool every 14 days. The water is then used to fill the water garden and irrigate the landscape.
Ultra-high efficient air conditioning and purification systems that make air quality 2x cleaner than a hospital’s operating room.
Use of enough reclaimed and renewable wood to save over 10.5 acres of rain forest. Renewable woods used regenerate at an average rate of every 5 years vs. every 50 years for many hardwoods (one species of Columbian guada bamboo regenerates by growing up to 90 feet in a single year!).
During construction over 340,000 pounds of debris and trash was recycled. Over 85% of all debris was diverted, and will never reach a landfill.
Read more on TreeHugger at Who Cares If It Is Green, Is It Ethical?
This House Isn't Green
According to Martin John Brown in E-Magazine, a 3,000 square foot house uses 40% more energy than a 2,000 square foot house. So why is this 4,600 square foot McMansion house considered green? Because it has an Energy Star rating that states it uses 15% less energy than a comparable conventional house. "It's a perfect demonstration of the battle between two major trends in American housing. In the past few decades, houses have gotten greener, but they've gotten bigger too, leaving lingering questions: Is super-sized housing defeating conservation efforts? Can McMansions truly be green?" More in TreeHugger on green mcmansions
Monique Cole on Big Green Exurban Houses
"Everyone’s looking for the silver bullets that will allow us to carry on our consumptive lifestyles just as we always have. But to be truly green, some sacrifices have to be made, such as giving up the home theater or that fourth bay in the garage." More in TreeHugger on big exurban houses
Solar Panels Do Not A Green House Make
Addison Mizner goes off-grid in Sharada and Don Alducin's 4,800 SF Palm Beach house, complete with twin laundry rooms, gourmet kitchen, three-zone air-conditioning system and 1,000-bottle wine cellar, powered by $65,000 worth of solar panels. Admirably, the Alducins have made lifestyle changes to suit; all their bulbs are CFL and their schedules changed. "I don't wash anything until the sun is up," says Sharada. More in TreeHugger on greenwrapping
More "green" McMansions