Francie Rehwald of California is trading in her plain home for a plane home. "My mom is definitely a hippie at heart," says her daughter in the AP video clip below. TreeHugger reported the original plans to build the recycled 747 house already in 2005. It takes time to get approvals for building a house that will need to be marked so rescue teams know it is not debris strewn by a crash!
The Wing House is a sleek and elegant design, without doubt. But we ask the hard questions which the mainstream media, so enthused about the jet plane aspect, neglects to ask: does this newest mansion exemplify sustainable architecture?
It looks like the Rehwalds are getting exactly the house that architect David Hertz planned: the plane's wings form the two main roof sections of a multi-level house. All the sections of the jet plane will be used in some aspect of the project -- which includes outbuildings such as a cockpit meditation chamber and a fuselage art studio. The jet plane itself cost a bargain $40,000, less than half the budget for running the helicopters transporting the sectioned plane to the building site.
On the other hand, this could be seen as greenwashing for another California mansion. There are options for recycling airplanes which do not require construction of a $2 million residential palace. Nonetheless, reclaiming the energy invested in assembling the finished jet plane from its respective raw materials has a certain value. However, the question here is not: "does this keep one more jet plane out of the landfill?" The question is: "Is the jet plane merely a clever structural material in an energy-efficient, sustainably built residence?"
The architects, studioea, confirm that "Solar power, radiant heating and natural ventilation will be incorporated as well as high performance heat mirror glazing." Well, given that palatial residences will be built, at least let them be beacons for development of sustainable building techniques.