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    The mantra for a more sustainable future is "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle". None of these values are exemplified in this allegedly green home. Reduce is at the top of the list for a reason. Usually, those encouraging and inspiring others to live with smaller carbon footprints see a connection with the rest of the world, including humans and social justice issues - not just whales, koalas, and green ways to indulge one's self. For anyone really interested in examining how personal lifestyle choices can affect the rest of the world, I recommend ethicist Peter Singer's 1999 article on world poverty.

    It's typically ironic that the Rye House Tour is supposed to support programs for young adults who come from families that have not focused on amassing money for money's sake. The tour is one big consumer envy fest. Where are the homes with books, instruments, warm kitchens that exude the charism of community? No real families live in these homes. The one year I went on the tour with a friend and her toddler, the guards - or are they dosants? - were very nervous that a 2-year-old was dancing in the foyer.

    The house tour is only green in that it is green with envy for the unenlightened.


    Everyone has choices. The choice to incorporate energy efficiency measures into new construction should always be applauded but we would agree that the greenest house is the one that is already built. Adaptive re-use of existing structures retrofitted with today's sustainable technologies helps to preserve the embodied energy of older homes by salvaging/recycling existing materials and thousands of hours of craftsmanship. Simply put there are many ways to be green but one way to reduce our carbon footprint is to live smartly and responsibly within the footprint of a pre-existing home.

    Matt Fahey

    If only we could somehow tap into all the hot air that comes from Gore... why, we'd be virtually awash with cheap electricity!


    I agree with Matt.

    The Al Gore “story” has turned into a nightmare for Kleiner Perkins. Now they and Khosla Ventures are stuck with “must subsidize” technology going nowhere soon. I think we will see a big increase in safe hydro-fracked shale gas production throughout the U.S. and right here in NY. That’s likely the best American owned transition fuel to bridge to the future science projects that will actually deliver the economically viable zero impact renewables of tomorrow.

    Matt Fahey

    Sorry, I'm still not a buyer that this house is "green". We live in a world with limited resources, and anyone who thinks they're conserving these resources by buying such a monstrously large house needs to have their head examined. Unless several families move into this home (again, extremely unlikely), the plain and simple fact is that the new homeowner will have a larger carbon footprint on a go-forward basis than the average homeowner in Rye. So please don't try to bamboozle the public that the builder or new owner is doing the world a favor. It's hypocrisy, pure and simple.
    The patron saint of the green movement, Al Gore, is a classic example of this hypocritical lifestyle. He's constantly screaming at the nation to reduce our carbon footprint, but doesn't make a practice of his preaching - his house in Belle Meade, Tennessee uses twenty times the electricity than the average US homeowner. That's a serious outlier.
    Let's look beyond the materials and practices used in building this home, and look at the implications for the large amounts of future energy this home will consume. The higher demand for electricity will increase the demand for oil and natural gas - which powers most of the US electric supply. This forces energy companies to explore potential new oil fields, like those found in the Gulf of Mexico. The ecological disaster now hitting Louisiana and the other gulf states is but one example of what can happen when we continue to pursue luxury and comfort while hiding behind "green" building practices.
    Don't get me wrong - I have no problem if some ga-jillionaire wants to erect his own personal Taj Mahal here in Rye. It's a free country, and these big homes have a good impact on the rest of us plain folk by keeping our taxes down. Just please don't try to kid us that these ecological rapists are doing us a favor by re-cycling stones found on site or using some special paint.
    Here's an easy prediction - I think that, in the next 20 years, we'll see a marked movement towards downsizing these McMansions, with significant tax breaks given by either the Feds or the state for reducing the size of one's home or energy use. The lack of building sites and high cost of property taxes will put pressure on individuals to pursue non-traditional family structures - read multiple families living under the same roof, or a number of non-related individuals sharing the costs of maintaining these abodes.

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