Utne Blogs > Environment

Green Materials Do Not An Eco-Dwelling Make

by Rachel Levitt

Tags: Environment, green living, green building, McMansions, High Country News, Boulder County Business Report,

McMansionWhat exactly makes a building green? Writing for Colorado’s High Country News, Monique Cole takes on the concept of building "green" McMansions after reading about a businessman who built a 6,500-square-foot home near Boulder. The mansion, which uses extensive solar power and ecological building materials, was named "the greenest home in North America" by the Boulder County Business Report. But do these choices actually make the building “the greenest”? No: Even though the materials and power sources are eco-friendly, it still takes gas for the movers, builders, landscapers, and utility workers to get to the property, some 10 miles outside Boulder (not to mention the extra fuel it takes for its owners to get to and from work and commerce). The kicker, Cole points out, is that this house’s square footage is three times that of the median American household. "Everyone’s looking for the silver bullets that will allow us to carry on our consumptive lifestyles just as we always have. But to be truly green, some sacrifices have to be made, such as giving up the home theater or that fourth bay in the garage."

Image courtesy of Allan Ferguson, licensed under Creative Commons.