Since I’m not really making time to write for this blog, you can read this response I wrote to the article “Miserly Manor” by Dylan Rivera, published on 11/27/09
The original article is here (for a time, I would imagine.)
Dear Mr. Rivera,
Two phrases stuck out in your article about the so-called “green” house built by Scott Lewis.The first:“The current house has a dining room and living room separated from the kitchen and family room—extra space that isn’t necessary.”However, earlier in the article the house’s size is given at “nearly 4,000 square feet” which sounds to me like a tremendous amount of extra space not really necessary for a family of five.
The second phrase: “Lewis demolished a small mid century house from the site.” Both of these statements gloss over the troublesome American obsession with destroying (instead of retrofitting, or remodeling) what is already there and putting a much larger home in its place. I would argue that building a house that gives each person in the family 800 square feet (a size that, once upon a time, was not an unusual size for a home for a whole family, not one individual in the family) is not a green practice. Small houses are easier to heat, take fewer resources to furnish and probably strengthen family ties by increasing proximity. Could Lewis have retrofitted the existing house in such a manner? We will never know.
The vast majority of your readers will not have an opportunity to build a 4,000 square foot house, green or no. Scott Lewis felt his previous house was a source of “inner turmoil” because it didn’t use materials that are local or energy efficient. I believe that His uber-expensive, super efficient house is just a super efficient McMansion, and doesn’t really fit his green aesthetic.