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A Tale of Two Mansions

I’m about to describe two homes, one belonging to the Oscar-winning former Vice President and star of An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore, the other to President George W. Bush. Can you tell which home belongs to which person?

House #1 consumes nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year, more than 20 times the national average of 10,656 kWh. Last August alone, this house used 22,619 kWh, consuming more than twice as much electricity in one month as the average American family uses in an entire year. Also, the natural gas bills for this 10,000 square-foot 20-room mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 a month last year.

House #2 contains only 4,000 square feet, has 25,000 gallons of rainwater storage, gray water collection from sinks and showers for irrigation, passive solar, and geothermal heating and cooling. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system.

If you said house #2 must belong to Al Gore— you’d be wrong! Al Gore is the owner of house #1, while house #2 is President Bush’s Crawford, Texas residence.

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Apples and oranges by scottb

You’re comparing the primary home of a wealthy man with the vacation home of another. Bush hasn’t lived in Crawford for years. For the last six he’s been in the White House, for the six before that, he lived in the Texas Governor’s mansion.

Also, the implied argument is "look at what a hypocrite Gore is" – but Gore isn’t saying "hey, emit less carbon, like me", he’s saying we, as a group need to control carbon emissions, and the best way to do that is by treating the right to emit carbon as a limited resource. By buying carbon offsets in an amount corresponding to what he emits, he’s doing exactly what he preaches.

I think this only proves that Al Gore is a jerk. The environmental message should be heard nonethless. Isn’t that what the evangelists say? Listen to the message not the messenger?

This is the plan Al Gore needs to follow to really make a difference:

  • Pay to have his home converted to net energy into the system.
  • Finance home conversion "kits" to allow those without enough money to also net energy back into the system.
  • Coordinate others like him with bookoos of money to do the same.
    The effects of doing this would be phenomenal:
  • Those with the means and doing the preaching would be setting a good example (and making the most difference, given the huge amounts of energy they use).
  • Those without the means would gain them. This would also double as a charity if done to help the lower class – who would then have the cost of utilities removed and also have the income from selling green energy into "the grid." One potential way to do this would be to fund Habitat for Humanity to make all of their homes energy-positive. This not only helps the lower class, but also implements the technology through a channel that will help those living in the homes learn how it works (as they are required to help build their homes), as well as those in the surrounding community that may have the means but not know where to start.
  • Green technology would improve due to sales and extra funding.
  • Most importantly, if it really caught on, the country would completely solve its energy crisis with every home producing more energy than they use and selling the rest to the slackers/moochers.
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A proposal.... by NastyPrincess

I propose this to everyone….

Now that LordDilly pointed out how much those two households consume and in the many other comments here, writers have shown the pros and cons of carbon emissions and some touched slightly on the average consumer grade recycables, let’s take this all a step further. Carbon emissions is a huge Global problem, no one doubts that, but on a global scale it’s daunting. On the consumer side, one that the "average joe" participates in daily, I propose we inspect what we, the "average joe" are doing, whether it be in carbon emissions in our own daily lives or that paper lunch bag that I threw in some random garbage can today.

Let’s look at ourselves. What do I consume? What is the efficiancy of my own household? How about my office?

I did an experiment recently in my own household. For 2 weeks we collected every peice of paper that could possibly be meant for the trash and usually would have been. We packed it all into recycled paper bags….frozen dinner boxes, magazines, toilet paper tubes, junk mail… This week, after only collecting paper for two weeks and from only 2 people, I took over 20lbs of paper to the curb for the recycling truck to pick up. 20+ lbs!!!!! From 2 people! That’s not even including what was used in the service of us in restaurants that we never even saw. Not even including most of what was used in the shipping of the products where I work.

It’s apples and oranges when it’s Bush and Gore, but we’re all in the same boat here. How many of us are apples and how many think we’re oranges? So I propose that we do a little math in our own worlds. My 20+ lbs of daily lifestyle that I left on the curb really shook my perception of how little I’m really doing, but at the same time, how much the little things really can add up. It showed me that I need to do more.

I challenge a few write-ups on other readers/writers households over the next few weeks. Commuters, home owners, etc. I personally would be geeked to see a write-up from someone out there who has a baby that is still in diapers and is willing to weigh some diaper pales or just count the # of disposable diapers they used in 2 weeks. Let’s do some math and see what we find out…..

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Othello by Anonymous

Neither Gore or Bush Had the mum to go against the Industry which causes a large part of the problem. Its all about the money.

One Square of Toilet Paper per use, except for those ‘pesky occasions’.

Why didn’t I think of this? It’s pure GENIUS

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