Friday's New Homes section in the Chicago Tribune showed how the term "green" has been completely co-opted; builder Robert Lord is creating a six bedroom, six bath, 11,000 square foot "green" home with multiple garage spaces, which will sell for $3.9 million. Just let that sink in for a moment. Even the Real Estate reporter was a little skeptical, asking: "But isn't the essence of going green making less of a footprint on the Earth?" As he ticked off the list of "green features" in this St. Charles, IL home, the builder pointed out that the buyer would save "as much as $7,000 annually" using his geothermal heating system. Well, yes, it's easy to 'save' money on energy when you are spending a king's ransom on it in the first place....After nearly choking on my breakfast at the sheer obscenity of building a house like this in the middle of valuable farmland, I was heartened by another story on the same page.
Developer Gerald Snowden is reclaiming a former junkyard in downtown Traverse City, MI and turning it into a mixed-use building with shops, offices, and residences.
"Hans Voss, executive director of the Michigan Land Use Institute, praised the idea of reusing an inner-city location instead of gobbling up another cherry orchard on the outskirts of town. 'Putting up a green building where everyone drives 20 miles back and forth is not nearly as sustainable as putting it downtown where we can walk and not burn fuel to do our daily activities,' Voss said."
The builder is developing the site to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council. Way to go, dude.