Should USGBC certify a 15,000-sq.-ft. home as green?
A “speculative 15,000 square foot mansion in Manalapan, Fla., will be the first home of its size to be certified green by the U.S. Green Building Council and the Florida Green Building Council.”
Is that a good idea for USGBC? That’s my question to you. Obviously people are going to build big homes — and it is better if they have green features. But should USGBC single out such “eco-mansions” for positive recognition?
On the big side, the mansion has:
… eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, two elevators, two laundry rooms, two wine cellars (one for red, one white), a movie theater and guesthouse.
On the green side, the mansion has a:
… state-of-the-art air purification system and eco-friendly light fixtures that will reduce energy consumption by 90 percent.
Making this mansion green, probably tacked on additional costs of between 7 and 10 percent …
For instance, instead of using a rare Brazilian cherry for the home’s hardwood floors, he’s using reclaimed teak — thus sparing 7.5 acres of Brazilian rain forest …
The house will also have a massive solar panel system (price tag: $120,000), a water system that uses “gray water” from the showers and sinks to irrigate the lawn and gardens, as well as a series of pools, reflecting ponds and water gardens to cool down the 1.5 acre property by 2 to 3 degrees.
USGBC does take size into consideration:
The USGBC also factors in the overall size of the house. So the bigger a home is, the more points must be earned to score one of the USGBC’s four levels of achievement — certified, silver, gold and platinum.
So for mansions, balancing a low-environmental impact with a colossal construction is particularly difficult.
This is not the first USGBC certified green mansion — a puny 6,000-sq.-ft house built by Ted Turner’s daughter has that distinction.
When I emailed USGBC about this, they wrote back saying:
Stopping folks from building green is not going to stop them from building big.
Education and experience has to happen at all levels.
That’s what they think. I think they shouldn’t lend their name to such homes. What do you think?