Friday, June 20, 2008

Al Gore, Energy Hog: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a Nashville-based free market think tank and watchdog organization, obtained information about Al Gore’s home energy use through a public records request to the Nashville Electric Service. In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%.

In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month. Since taking steps to make his home more environmentally-friendly last June, Gore devours an average of 17,768 kWh per month –1,638 kWh more energy per month than before the renovations – at a cost of $16,533.

By comparison, the average American household consumes 11,040 kWh in an entire year (almost 20 times less than Al Gore), according to the Energy Information Administration (see chart above).

MP: Wow, talk about the need for some carbon offsets......

25 Comments:

At 6/20/2008 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He must have a VERY large house. Politics pays good.

 
At 6/20/2008 10:49 AM, Blogger matt said...

While I'll buy Al Gore is a hypocrite, I don't buy this comparison.

What is an 'average' household? What's the energy use in an average suburban house vs a city apartment or condo? What's the average energy cost per household comparing Flint, MI to Grand Blanc, MI?

Does it make Gore less of a hypocrite if his house only uses enough energy to power 5 or 10 typical upper-middle class suburban homes?

 
At 6/20/2008 11:13 AM, Anonymous rvturnage said...

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/13/gore.home.ap/index.html

According to CNN (and Mr. Gore), the time frame that the TN Center for Policy Research used in their averaging included the time that remodeling was taking place, and that the increase in usage was due to the construction equipment. CNN/Associate Press reports that the "greening" reduced his kWh usage by 11%.

I'd like to see a rebuttal from the TN Center for Policy research, showing dates they used to get the info, as well as the dates construction took place.

 
At 6/20/2008 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always wonder why a "free market think tank" does not understand that the market for home-use energy is not governed by a free market but generally by government regulated monopolies (as far from free market as you can get.) Which is why construction in the US produces such inefficient houses - the government subsidizes out energy use so why make houses efficient.

These groups will then talk about how people only want to drive in their cars and do not want to use subsidized mass transit. Again, shocked that no one realizes that car transportation in the US is the most heavily subsidized form of transportation in the world.

 
At 6/20/2008 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

17,768 kWh/mo is pretty extreme. I have a 4,000 sq ft house for a family of 5 in a climate similar to Nashville and I use a 12 month average of 1,136 kWh/ month. The Gore household is consuming a huge amount of energy if that report is true. I've seen their house and from the street it doesn't look much bigger than our place. I'm using less than 14,000 per year and they're using 17,000+ per month? They must have grow lights goin' 24/7 in the basement or sumpthin'.

 
At 6/20/2008 12:00 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

"Politics pays good."

Al Gore left office worth about two million dollars. His net worth today is near forty million. He owes it all to global warming.

 
At 6/20/2008 12:18 PM, Blogger bobble said...

while i generally support the "less planet pollution" aspect of the GW movement, i'm not convinced that GW is real or manmade.

that said, i'm always happy to see any GW advocate's excess use of resources, especially their use of private jets, publicized.

if us poor slobs are going to cut back, by god, they better not be turning up their AC and flying around in private jets while they're telling us to use less.

 
At 6/20/2008 12:39 PM, Anonymous rvturnage said...

According to the CNN article I linked to above, his home is 10,000 SQF.

 
At 6/20/2008 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very tempting to point fingers at Al Gore or "corporate polluters" but take a good look at your own home. I'm not just talking about A lamp light bulbs which account for a very small percentage of the electricty bill but all that other stuff.

I was reviewing my home this morning for power equipment (most electrical; gas as noted):

Bathroom:
Electric toothbrush
Electric razor
Blow drier
Curling Iron

General:
4 Smoke detector
3 CO2 detectors
Air conditioning
High efficiency gas furnace
1/2 lighting is fluorescent (I guess I get a carbon credit for that)

Kitchen
Electric kettle
Dishwasher
Stove
Trash compactor
Coffee machine
Food processor
Refrigerator
Mix master
Electric beater
Slow cooker
Bread machine
Toaster
Microwave
Blender
Charger for camera
Charger for cell phone

Living Rm:
TV
VCR
Stereo

Family Room:
Flat screen TV
DVD
Cable Receiver box

2 Offices:
2 Computers
Scanner
2 Printers
Shredder
2 office telephones
Fax
Photocopier

Workshop:
Power Planer
Table saw
circular saw
drill press
welders (Mig & Tig)
jigsaw
electric drills
dremel
Palm sander
Belt sander
Chop saw
Mitre saw
Shop vac
chain saw (gas)
chargers for powerpacks
chain hoist
router
sawsall
electrical generator (gas)
heat gun
glue gun
kiln (awaiting connection)

Garage:
Snowblower (gas)
Weedeater (gas)
leaf blower
Chest freezer
mini frig
central vacuum
handheld vacuum

Utility cupboard
2 upright vacuums
Shark floor steamer
rug cleaner

Frankly, it puts my use of canvas shopping bags, and a push mower in perspective. With a list like this, it's time to check the mirror to make sure you aren't Al Gore.

"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Walt Kelly

 
At 6/20/2008 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please note the above is only a partial list...forgot to mention the washer, dryer, battery backup for the phone system, battery charger, water heater, baseboard electrical heaters (all but one removed but we still use it), bathroom fans, ceiling fan in the kitchen, security system, food dehydrator...probably missing a few items.

 
At 6/20/2008 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:52 the point is not that Gore uses a lot of energy and other people don't.

The point is that Al Gore is a scum sucking bottom dwelling hypocrite of the worst kind preaching to unthinking masses of sheeple that believe the poison that comes from his mouth as if it were God himself giving out commandments.

 
At 6/20/2008 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, hey...let's control the blood pressure. I'm no fan of Al Gore either.

My point is merely that Al Gore and the top 1% of earners in the U.S. represent 1%. The rest of us make up the 99% of population and account for a substantial share of energy consumption (therefore CO2 emissions). The U.S. and Canada lead the world in energy usage per capita.

The only good news story is that industrial energy consumption has gone down over the last 20 years.

The rest of us are just as hypocritical with our gameboys and Ipods looking for the government to punish electrical utilities for supplying our addiction to electricity or snearing at Al Gore.

 
At 6/20/2008 3:14 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Does it make Gore less of a hypocrite if his house only uses enough energy to power 5 or 10 typical upper-middle class suburban homes?"...

No matt, that fact that the SUPREME GORON opens his mouth to preach about junk science as if it were factual makes him all the hypocrite he wants to be even if he's living in a grass shack and lighting it was animal tallow...

"I always wonder why a "free market think tank" does not understand that the market for home-use energy is not governed by a free market but generally by government regulated monopolies (as far from free market as you can get.)"...

Who says free market thinkers want energy to be government regulated monopolies?

Maybe part of the reason houses according to you are built energy inefficient is that the government is subsidizing housing with the tax write off for the interest paid on the house loan...

"It is very tempting to point fingers at Al Gore or "corporate polluters" but take a good look at your own home. I'm not just talking about A lamp light bulbs which account for a very small percentage of the electricty bill but all that other stuff"...

Hmmm, so are you saying that if one doesn't live like some sort of third world refugee in a cardboard box, we're polluters?

I hope not...

 
At 6/20/2008 3:55 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Does it make Gore less of a hypocrite if his house only uses enough energy to power 5 or 10 typical upper-middle class suburban homes?

Uh.... No? The man is still pushing something "for me and you" that he isn't about to accept for himself.

Rules are for plebes. Duh.

 
At 6/20/2008 4:07 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> the government subsidizes our energy use so why make houses efficient.

Yes, by all means -- let's make it hard for those poor people who can't afford to either retrofit their current house, or price them out of the market for a new one by driving the already high cost through the roof.

Then, of course, we'll need a whole big NEW government program to help those screwed over by the "energy efficiency" policy.

Multiple programs, probably -- one for those who can't afford to fix their houses, one for those who can't afford the higher energy prices, and one for those who can't afford to buy one of the new efficient houses.

AND of course, the new efficient houses will have more problems with containing mold and radon and such (since one of the primary things to do happens to be making them more airtight, so we'll need new social health projects -- one to help people rid their houses of the toxins, and one to pay for their excess health expenses, and one to pay for the removal of the encapsulated toxins uncovered by the fixing of existing houses (both the initial efficiency update and while fixing the discovered mold/radon type issues)

Then we'll need to make new hazardous waste sites to dispose of those toxins, and, of course, that will be transferred up to the Fed.

And of course those workers who perform the cleanup will be undercovered by health insurance, as well as underpaid for what is essentially brain-dead labor that no one wants to do, so there will have to be an additional health insurance plan, and a "living wage" plan.

... are we starting to get The Real "Big Picture", now?

 
At 6/20/2008 4:23 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Frankly, it puts my use of canvas shopping bags, and a push mower in perspective. With a list like this, it's time to check the mirror to make sure you aren't Al Gore.

No, it's called "modern convenience", you nit.

The vast majority of those things are designed to save time to do essential things which you do on a semi-regular basis -- and most of them don't use ANY energy unless you're actually making use of them. And in almost every case, the actual energy usage is downright trivial -- even over a long time period and across a wide range of people, and with energy prices 10x what they are now.

You want to spend an extra 15-30 minutes of your limited time on this Earth, for each laundry load, using "sun drying" to save the energy of the clothes dryer, by all means -- go ahead.

But if you think I'm going to follow suit, or feel guilty for not following suit, you're a moron hoping to qualify for idiot school.

I have a very limited time on this earth. Wasting it doing mind-numbing menial chores in order to save a pittance of energy -- energy which can be produced quite cheaply by something as simple as increasing the number of nuclear power plants -- you are flat-out nuts.


Get a clue. Human time is money -- literally.

Wealth is created by increasing the amount of things people can do without thinking about them. Need light? Don't search for a candle and a match -- flip a switch!. Need to dry your hair? Don't spend 10 minutes towelling it -- flip a switch! Need to get to work? Don't spend an hour and a half on the bus, hop in your car, flip a switch -- and get there in 25 minutes.

Saving energy isn't inherently bad -- doing it while costing yourself more time than it takes to actually pay for that energy, it's just flat out, undebatably, stupid.

(And yes, I've always thought that idiots who drive around parking lots for five minutes trying to find a parking space that is a 2 minute walk closer to the store are just as cluelessly stupid).

 
At 6/20/2008 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juandos,

"I hope not..."

Only in a town which is incapable of making a historically accurate film could Mr. Gore's documentary receive an academy award. The inaccuracies are glaring and numerous...like the predictions of 20 foot sea level rise (last IPCC Scientific report predicts 17 inches reduced from 30 inches in the previous report) or the snows of Mt. Kilamangaro (before & after photos clearly indicate massive deforestation which scientists have concluded are responsible for dramatically reducing precipitation in the area ie. snow) or the use of Dr. Mann's controversial hockey stick graph which uses an algorithm that produces hockey stick shaped graphs with even random data or the predictions of increased tropical storm intensity (last IPCC report concluded that this prediction has failed to materialize - bet you $1,000 that Mr. Gore will continue to beat this bogus argument). Does one even bother with his claims about malaria?

While GHG may or may not be responible for the present warming trend, I not really addressing the issue of green house gases but energy consumption. North Americans are the world's leading consumers of energy (Saudi Arabia is #1 followed by the U.S. & Canada at #2 & #3). There are lots of other countries just as cold and dark in the winter.

Without question, very few people consume energy on the scale of Mr. Gore. Taking an inventory of power devices in one's home remains a illuminating exercise whatever one's opinion of Mr. Gore and his McMansion.

With regard to living in a cardboard box, it may be closer than you think. Take a look at the sustainable house designs in Chicago. Is there life in a shoebox with a handful of windows? Apparently.

obloodyhell,

Thought you might enjoy the Building Science Course by Joe Lstiburek Very informative presentor with a great sense of humor.

www.buildingscienceconsulting.com

Enjoyed your scenario. From the standpoint of the architectural industry, there is a plethora of green hokum and generally, bad design.

If you think Al Gore's preaching is bad, you should try joining the Architects Institute of BC.

Our favorite lecture was about green wall technology at over $200.00 per square foot. One attendee had the temerity to mention that he had built his own green wall with old hollow concrete blocks and cuttings of his mother's ivy. The presentor was not amused.

 
At 6/20/2008 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obloodyhell,

Was not suggesting that we get rid of every electrical and power device. Obviously, they don't call these labour saving devices for nothing.

There are devices like Ipods, TVs, cell phones, gameboys, etc. that tend to waste rather than save time...even like blogging on this computer to someone who trashes you for just making an observation about energy consumption.

Don't have a cow, man! Time for my martini therapy...stirred not shaken.

 
At 6/20/2008 6:19 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Good point anon @ 4:54 PM!: "the snows of Mt. Kilamangaro (before & after photos clearly indicate massive deforestation which scientists have concluded are responsible for dramatically reducing precipitation in the area ie. snow)"...

Speaking of which you might find this particular blog posting interesting since its contents and your comment go hand in glove...

When I was young & dumb the idea of climbing Kilamanjaro was very appealing... So appealing in fact I've done it six times and its neighboring mountain Mawenzi (much more technical climb compared to the up hill walk of Kilamajaro) twice between '79 and '96...

Deforestation is a polite way of saying slash a burn, the method that third worlders deprived of life's modern accomodations have to resort to...

BTW anon, your comment: "There are devices like Ipods, TVs, cell phones, gameboys, etc. that tend to waste rather than save time...even like blogging on this computer to someone who trashes you for just making an observation about energy consumption"...

Well are these little toys a waste of time?

I mean its obvious they can be but consider the other side of that coin...

The devices mentioned (the ones I highlighted) are also learning devices and messaging devices...

I think of the moon shots and finally the landing on the moon in '69 and I wonder how many others (besides myself and some of my fellow high school seniors) took an interest in computers and finally got some time on a PDP 10 for instance?

I'm guessing thousands if not tens of thousands (more?) right here in the good, ole US of A...

I was one of a couple of hundred folks that was lured by ads in Popular Electronics to spend $400 on Altair 8800...

 
At 6/20/2008 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juandos,

Blogging is only a waste of time if someone is being a git. Actually, there are a great many insights that one gains from this interaction.

Am intrigued that you spent time in the Alaska wildlife refuge and Kilamangaro. I am always interested in what you have to say. Don't necessarily always agree but that is part of the fun of an exchange of ideas as opposed to an exchange of invective.

Cheers!

 
At 6/20/2008 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What gets me is that we are not debating the science of the GHG theory but the utility bill of Al Gore, an issue so entirely irrelevant and extraneous to global warming it is laughable.

Perhaps, someone could inform me of the moral nuance between discrediting Al Gore's ideas on the basis of his electrical usage and the suggestions that any climatologist who questions the GHG theory is in the pay of an oil company.

Call me a contrarian but I have little respect for ad hominem even against the likes of Al Gore.

 
At 6/21/2008 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By comparison, the average American household consumes 11,040 kWh in an entire year

The average Dutch household consumes 3,346 kWh in an entire year.

 
At 6/22/2008 8:53 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"What gets me is that we are not debating the science of the GHG theory but the utility bill of Al Gore, an issue so entirely irrelevant and extraneous to global warming it is laughable"...

Well what's really laughable is the pseudo science of 'GHG theory' being pushed by a known pathological liar...

"The average Dutch household consumes 3,346 kWh in an entire year"...

Thank you Lord that I wasn't born Dutch...

 
At 6/23/2008 2:08 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Keep in mind this is only one of Gore's residences...

When the utility bills were exposed pre-renovation, I had the sense to look at it on a square-foot basis, as few of us mere unenlightened peasants can afford 10k s.f. (let alone multiples). My house was constructed in 1979, decent insulation but leaky envelope, old 10-SEER heat pumps and 50/50 mix on incandescent vs. fluorescent lighting. Family of five with four of us in the home all day. Gore's mansion still used 5X the electricity on a square foot basis. he supposedly was already using compact fluorescents then. And that didn't include the fact that he additionally had a huge natural gas bill that was providing heat for the home, domestic water, pool, outdoor lanterns, etc.

To make that hog all solar was a lost cause. To make the heating geothermal water source heat pumps was possible - which is what I believe they did (at great expense). This would eliminate most of the natural gas bill (not mentioned in the report) and likely result in an overall increased use of electricity. He may have a net decrease in energy use even with an increase in electrical, but it's still lipstick on a...hog.

 
At 6/23/2008 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cool thing is that Al gore screws chickens, and used the energy from that to run his electric shaver.

 

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