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Green Mansions
Alex Steffen, 6 Mar 05

Bruce sent along this article on green mansions of the millionaires, with the note, "Victory is at hand." As one of the essential tenets of Viridian design is that we want bright green lifestyles to become sought after by the wealthy (since while income may not trickle down, fashion sense definitely does), Bruce may just be right:

Hollywood, high-tech and high-powered types are getting more energy independent... Joe and Carrie Piazza bought their house on No Name Key, Fla., in 1999, spending about $40,000 to install a power system that includes solar panels, controls, batteries and a generator. But last year, the couple's fuel bill was just $1,000. “The solar runs the whole house, except for central air conditioning,” says Joe Piazza. “There's a great misconception that people in solar houses rough it. The reality is, if it's sized correctly and you're prepared to spend enough money, it functions like any other system.”

Add an upscale hybrid, some sustainable fashion, some zero-toxics furniture and local food and you've got bright green luxury in a box.

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As various energy systems became cheaper they sumplanted the old standby of a large tank of fuel oil and a generator or a large cng tank and a gas generator.

The only issue is in order to make solar and wind workable in those situations you need to make em retractable so when the huricane hits you can pull em underground. Not a huge deal realy but something they should think about next time they plan for hurricanes and such.

Posted by: wintermane on 6 Mar 05

It's a mixed blessing. While it's great that the ritzy set is embracing "green," it inadvertently adds to the misguided notion that being environmentally responsible is a luxury that only the rich can afford . . .

Posted by: Joel Makower on 6 Mar 05

No it just tells people that new energy has finaly made the jump to tech gizmo status from freaky oddball status. A very important leap on the long trek to home depot do it yourself project as it will be in 7-12 years.

Posted by: wintermane on 6 Mar 05

The well-to-do are often "early adopters." I wish they'd be "early adopters" of simplicity and frugality sometimes. All this know-how and so little know-why. In my practice, I often encounter people who want to "go green" with gizmos. It takes a lot of work to convince them to "go green" first by building only what they need, crafted to require very little energy, and then - only then- supplying the energy with renewables to the extent we can.

Posted by: David Foley on 7 Mar 05

It is really great that things like the Prius can pick up acceptance among status-conscious buyers. It would be great if solar/efficient homes were to do the same (notice that viking stoves and grills are judged by how many BTUs they put out, rather than their efficiency?).

On the other hand, I agree that it would be even better if vountary simplicity could somehow be seen as a "status" choice.

It's not that I am a status fan per se, but it is obvioulsy such a big consumption driver.

(Oh, for a BBQ that does a great job of few BTUs, check out the Kamado or BGE:)

Posted by: odograph on 7 Mar 05



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