TreeHugger Tours the WIRED Home... and Hears Vinod Khosla Speak
Even set amidst the backdrop of a multitude of multi-million dollar mansions, the WIRED Home - nestled in posh Brentwood - is hard to miss. The 2-story, 19-room, 4057 sq. ft. home finally opened its doors to the public this Monday, and we were on hand to be amongst the first to visit it.
It did not disappoint. Every aspect, from its ultramodern/chic aesthetic to its amazing views, was spot-on; the house features an exhaustive list of eco-friendly fixtures and technologies - including a photovoltaic system, energy/water-efficient appliances and a healthy dose of reclaimed materials. Steve Glenn, founder and CEO of LivingHomes (the company that built the house for WIRED), Ray Kappe, the house's architect, and Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures (and a LivingHomes investor), were on hand to give tours to the assembled media and cast of LA power-brokers. Vinod Khosla, whom we've reported on before for his heavy involvement with clean tech, gave the evening's most inspired talk - focusing mostly on his company's plans to wage dual "wars" on coal and oil by funding new ventures in biofuel technology, green materials and efficiency designs. He also touched on a few other topics of note - including what he perceived to be the main problem with environmental groups.
Describing them as "having the right intent but doing the wrong thing," he criticized their narrow focus on technologies such as hybrid vehicles - citing the Toyota Prius - that don't do enough to truly combat climate change. Given the choice, he said, he would rather take the extra $5000 it takes to purchase a Prius instead of a conventional vehicle and invest it in other more efficient emissions-reducing technologies.
Answering a question from the audience, Khosla said that the short-term solution he foresaw for transportation in the next 20 years was a worldwide shift to flex-fuel vehicles powered by a variety of second-generation (i.e. non-food crop) biofuels - especially for rapidly developing countries like India and China. Anything more elaborate, he explained, would not be feasible given the high costs.
When we asked him about the progress companies like LS9 and Amyris - which are using genetically engineered bacteria to produce biofuels - were making (both of which he has also invested in), he smiled, only noting that the technologies were "much closer than we think".
Those of you in the LA area who are keen to check out the house in person will have 10 days to purchase a ticket and take one of several public tours. And, if you're so inclined, you can even look into purchasing the WIRED Home through real estate firm deasy/penner&partners.;