Why efficiency isn’t so efficient
September 10, 2006, 10:44 pm by bottleman. Filed under: energy, monster houses.

While normally I don’t flog anybody’s work, it’s time to make an exception. Deep breath. Here goes:

Gee, what a super article in the new E magazine (see this reprint on Alternet) about monster houses! Could that guy possibly have been reading this blog, or even, I dare say, writing for it?

The article points out a strange fact: despite the fact that American houses have more energy efficient devices — light bulbs, windows, and so on — than ever, they’re also using more energy than ever. From space America positively radiates!

photo of usa at night from darksky.org

(If I squint, I think I can see my house.)

On the face of it, it doesn’t make sense. Doesn’t higher efficiency mean using less energy? …more

Honkin’ huge, part II: a modest 5337 sq. ft. cottage
April 30, 2006, 10:38 pm by bottleman. Filed under: magazine watch, monster houses.

It was a moody lunch. I sat at the table, unshaven and thick-headed. Not even a racy drop of Tabasco could liven up the taste of my tomato soup.

The numbers were pretty strong. It seemed likely that America’s oversized new houses were a near match for America’s bulked-up, overpowered new cars. McMansions were environmental villains just like SUVs.

And yet, most greens really hadn’t caught on to McMansions beyond complaining about their aesthetics. Where was the outrage? Where was the wash of counter-propaganda to compete with the bombast of promotions like the street of dreams?

Photo by Flickr member Oneras - thank you


Honkin’ huge, part I: homes and Hummers
April 16, 2006, 11:58 pm by bottleman. Filed under: energy, monster houses.

It’s almost too easy to bash SUV’s. Besides guzzling gas, their sheer size and shape gives them a bullying muscularity that, let’s face it, just rankles the sensibilities of tenderfoot liberals. Given two vehicles of equally poor mileage — say a 2006 Nissan Armada and a 1990 Volvo 240 wagon — the Armada is the one that’s going to end up with the activist’s “energy hog” ticket.

Most greens that grok the issue will own up that the Volvo should get a ticket too. But there’s very little brouhaha in the environmental community over that other bulked-up monster lurking around the driveway: the house.

Washington Post photo