The gist of this fine editorial seems to be, “Oh, Come on!.” Regarding massive, “green” houses:
These houses aren’t just ridiculous; they’re monuments to sanctimony. If architecture is frozen music, these places are congealed piety, demonstrating with embarrassing concreteness the glaring hypocrisy of upper-class environmentalism. The sad thing is that, by pouring so much money into ostentatious eco-design, the people who built homes like this have purchased status at the cost of doing some real environmental good.
Bear in mind that merely building a gigantic house consumes an enormous amount of energy and other resources, which is why it costs so much to do so. Situating a home all by itself on a large piece of land, far from the pre-existing community infrastructure, does not make it a model of environmentally conscious design. And having a second home–which takes nearly a day of driving to reach–is unlikely to make a dent in global warming.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a large house, lots of privacy or a vacation home, but how can we pretend that these places exemplify some standard of eco-design that others should aspire to?