Green gasbags?

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?

Well said.

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2 Comments

  1. TrvlnMn January 17, 2006 at 21:46

    The article makes fair points. However the truth of the matter as I view it- is that one can find hypocracy in just about anything. Pick the issue whether or not it’s on the liberal or conservative side of the isle then look at it hard enough.. you’ll find some inconsistancies.

    In the perfect eco-house I’d like to be “off the grid” and self reliant with all the creature comforts of home(or at least to severely limit the money I spend on the utilities). If you don’t have the extra utility bills then maybe the upfront costs could be worth it.

    But yeah conscience usually costs a little extra money. Sad isn’t it.

  2. Jim January 18, 2006 at 08:01

    I think (and hope) that as green products gain prominence and reach a critical mass, the prices will come more into equilibrium with traditional products. Time will tell.