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Al Gore's Un-Green House: 20x Energy of National Average

robi2106 (464558) writes | more than 7 years ago

Media 12

Did you know that according to the Tennessee Center (which dug up some utility records) Al Gore's personal mansion consumes 20 times the energy of the average American home, which according to Al Gore's own numbers, consumes more on average than other homes in the world. According to the article, "The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of

Did you know that according to the Tennessee Center (which dug up some utility records) Al Gore's personal mansion consumes 20 times the energy of the average American home, which according to Al Gore's own numbers, consumes more on average than other homes in the world. According to the article, "The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh--more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh--guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore's average monthly electric bill topped $1,359." That is $29,268 a year for those of you at home with out calculators.

So I did some searching, looking up the Davidson County Assessors office, looking up a certain owner named Albert Gore Jr, and noticed his parcel. I won't provide any direct links to any of those sites, but any reasonably smart monkey and Google can find the address and look up the property information. That "house" by the way, is a 10,010 ft^2 (finished, the unfinished area is 13,461 ft^2) mansion built in 1914.

This property contains 2.09 Acres of land mainly classified as RES with a(n) RY SING FAM style building, built about 1915 , having FRAME exterior and ASPHALT roof cover, with 1 unit(s), 20 total room(s), 5 total bedroom(s), 8 total bath(s), 2 total half bath(s), 0 total 3/4 bath(s). The Building Value $2,124,400; Land Value $897,000, and a Total Value $3,021,400

So Mr. The-Earth-Is-Burning-Up is running around complaining about MY energy use while consuming 20 times the average home AND while flying in a private jetliner and being driven to the airport in a motorcade of SUVs. I just did a quick look at my gas and electric bills. My gas usage for last month (the coldest of the month) was 78 therms, costing me $103. My electricity usage in August (most use of the air conditioner) is around $120 (cannot remember the amount of Kw used) but tapers off to $30 in the fall/winter/spring months.

My electric utilities are about as "green" as Gore's (80% of Idaho's power is generated from Hydro, probably near the same for Tenn. because of the extensive TVA system) and I run a total yearly utility cost of around $900 (rounded UP to nearest hundred dollars) which compared to Gore's yearly gas / electricity bill of $29,200 (rounded DOWN to nearest hundred dollars), I run a very green 3.08% of his home energy consumption.

To be fare, he has a (finished) 10,010 ft^2 nearly 100 year old mansion and I have a 15 year old 1250 ft^2 (finished) starter home (with a cheap 60% efficient forced air gas heater) (and brand new door seals I just put in) in the 'burbs. Lets look at consumption based on a per square foot basis to compare apples to apples. My home costs $0.72 per ft^2 per year to run and his costs $2.91 per ft^2 per year. That still means that Al Gore consumes 404% per ft^2 compared to me (or I consume 25% compared to him).

So don't try to scold me for being ecologically damaging. Despite the economic fallacy of recycling, I still do recycle most of the feasible items. Despite living in the suburbs I still carpool when possible and live =2 miles from my work. Despite being a white, male, socially conservative, economically libertarian, practicing big game hunter, evangelical Christian, and everything else Greenpeace / PETA / etc stand against... I am doing my part to live an ecologically sustainable lifestyle and bucking their stereotypes.

In fact, stay tuned to this journal / blog for news of two video productions I have in pre-production both about ecologically sound and (more importantly) economically sound

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Just FYI... (1)

johndiii (229824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176518)

This appears to have posted twice.

Re:Just FYI... (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176540)

yeah my mistake.... I wanted to submit to the zoo but I forgot to do so the first time.

jason

Just a note on energy usage (1)

saviorsloth (467974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176836)

I don't mean to jump all over you, you're definitely making valid points about Mr Gore's energy consumption in a very reasonable manner. I just wanted to point out that in order to truly compare energy consumption "apples to apples," square footage is not the measure you should be using. you're comparing the surface areas (floor only of course) of your two homes, but for heating you need to look at cubic footage, since all of the air needs to be heated. While Mr Gore's home has roughly 9 times as much floor surface area as yours, it probably has roughly 80 times as much volume. I don't know if the necessary data are available on Gore's house to calculate the volume of his home. Just thought i should mention this mathematical point, cheers.

Re:Just a note on energy usage (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177792)

Good points. I did think of the cubic feet of cooling / heating needed but as you mentioned, had no way to calculate this. If we assume that the 20 rooms, 5 bedrooms, and 10 bathrooms in his house have a ceiling of 9 feet (reasonable assumption given the style of 1900s era plantation houses... look for pictures of view the Fox news clip; they have a picture of the plantation style house) then he has 90,000 cubic feet to cool & heat. I have 7 foot ceilings in all the rooms except my one common room having a 10 foot vaulted ceiling, average that to 8 foot ceilings for me (the big room is about 1/3 the total ft^2 of my house) That gives me 10,000 cubic feet to cool & heat.

Reworking the numbers on a cubic foot basis, Mr Gore's house uses $0.32 / ft^3 and I use $0.09 / ft^3 which is 27% of Mr Gore's usage (or he uses 308% of my usage) that is only slightly less per cubic foot than on a square foot basis. In all fairness, a lot of his gas use (according to the Fox News segment) is due to 1900s era gas fired lamps lining his drive way (what the hell??) and a heated swimming pool. Neither of which I, nor a majority of Americans, have. The gas lamps bit is seriously out of step with the live green motto. No amount of purchasing carbon credits will make up for consumption. Only a lack of consumption balances a consumption.

Good points and thanks for bringing that up.

Re:Just a note on energy usage (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177938)

I also didn't look at the numbers for his 2 other homes. One in Arlington, Va (unknown exact ft^2 but another blog says 4000) and a third in Carthage, Tenn (two properties on ~75 acres of land; 1,540 ft^2 and 2,147 ft^2).

jason

Al Gore's a Politician (1)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18179242)

Hypocracy is par for the course.

More interesting, perhaps, is why politicians are generally hypocrites. My reckoning is that since they cannot control themselves, they try to control the world. Indeed, this is the biggest factor that propels them into politics.

That ain't all the picture (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 7 years ago | (#18184936)

There are some noteworthy elements of the story [tennessean.com] that you're leaving out, however:

"As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk (the) walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use," said Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, identified as a free-market think tank.

Gore's power bill shows, however, that the former vice president may be doing just that.

Gore purchased 108 blocks of "green power" for each of the past three months, according to a summary of the bills.

That's a total of $432 a month Gore paid extra for solar or other renewable energy sources.

The green power Gore purchased in those three months is equivalent to recycling 2.48 million aluminum cans or 286,092 pounds of newspaper, according to comparison figures on NES' Web site.


Those "power blocks" are basically $4/month charges that homeowners voluntarily sign up for, with the funds going to the development of alternative energy. Gore is purchasing 108 of those per month. And further down...

The Green Power Switch program isn't all that Gore and his wife, Tipper, are doing, Krider said.

They use compact fluorescent light bulbs and are in the midst of a renovation project that includes having solar panels installed on their home to reduce fossil fuel consumption, she said.

Their car? A Lexis hybrid SUV.

"They, of course, also do the carbon emissions offset," she said.

That means figuring out how much carbon is emitted from home power use, and vehicle and plane travel, then paying for projects that will offset that with use of renewable energy, such as solar power.

Gore helped found Generation Investment Management, through which he and others pay for offsets. The firm invests the money in solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe, she said.


I think putting solar panels on a nearly 100 year-old mansion qualifies as pretty green thinking. But those interesting in simply attacking a political figure aren't really interested in looking at the whole picture...

Re:That ain't all the picture (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18185294)

Solar panals are nice, but even they create some pretty bad byproducts of their construction. AND they take about 15-20 years to pay back the purchase price in saved consumption of electricity.

I do agree that the solar panels / fluorescents are good. And considering that the mansion is a 1914 built mansion it won't be compliant with modern insulation regulations, etc.

But I'll say it again, a carbon offset doesn't eliminate a consumption. Even adding the wind power add on to the utility bill (a very good idea) still is consumption. Eliminating his consumption would free up that wind generated power to go to a consumer that has a normal level of consumption, which would eliminate that demand.

I do like to idea of funding research into renewable energy sources, but a carbon offset idea is just a guilt replacement program that allows large consumers to consume more with less guilt.

jason

Re:That ain't all the picture (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 7 years ago | (#18188574)

Just to clarify, the add-on to the utility is basically a donation, it's not consumption of X amount of wind energy. It's totally separate from utility use, just a way to donate funds to support alternative energy development. I'm a customer of Middle Tennessee Electric, and I've received their brochures on this.

Re:That ain't all the picture (1)

Dannon (142147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200690)

An extra bit of info I read today on those "carbon offsets" [billhobbs.com] that Mr. Gore buys:

But how Gore buys his "carbon offsets," as revealed by The Tennessean raises serious questions. According to the newspaper's report, Gore buys his carbon offsets through Generation Investment Management:

Gore helped found Generation Investment Management, through which he and others pay for offsets. The firm invests the money in solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe...

Gore is chairman of the firm and, presumably, draws an income or will make money as its investments prosper. In other words, he "buys" his "carbon offsets" from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself. To be blunt, Gore doesn't buy "carbon offsets" through Generation Investment Management--he buys stocks....
In other words, you may be making a donation. But Mr. Gore is raising the values of stocks which he owns.

One person I heard on the radio likened his carbon offset dealings as being similar to the medieval practice of buying indulgences from the local church vicar: The rich man does the sin, knowing it's a sin, but then bribes the church for forgiveness. And in this case, it's the Church of Global Warming, of which Mr. Gore is high priest anyway....

Re:That ain't all the picture (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204016)

huh..... Gore is suddenly even less cool than I thought (pun intended). Or is he that much neater for being an apprentice of Slick Willey and showing such mastery over the craft?

jason

Re:That ain't all the picture (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18185722)

Interestingly enough, I just did calculate my carbon footprint. My family creates an estimated 3 tons of exhaled gas per year (though the calculator has no way of forcing the heating oil section to be 0, it assumes a range of 0-25 meaning some but not none).

So I am not doing bad at all. Less than 1/2 the national average. My solar heating project will cut $1-2 per DAY off of my natural gas bill in the winter, eliminating about 1 therm of gas used every day (we used ~70 last month).

jason
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