I, along with everyone else, was annoyed to hear that Gore's home used 20 times as much energy as an average home even though, according to my calculations, it was only 4 times as big. However, according to a recent issue of Time magazine there are two somewhat mitigating circumstances:
- The amount of energy Gore uses in some of the figures cited was calculated by the cost of his electric bill rather than actual kilowatts used (NPR used kilowatts though, and that's what I blogged about). However, he chooses to pay more for electricity by paying for power only from renewable sources. According to MSNBC, the Gores paid twice as much for this power, so that means some stories probably doubled the amount of energy they actually used.
- The Gores bought their house five years ago and are still in the process of upgrading it to use energy-efficient glass in the windows, add solar panels etc.
Wikipedia also mentions that Gore's home, with it's security needs, is not an average home, and that the reason they haven't added solar panels until now is that the neighborhood zoning rules didn't allow it until recently.
None of this takes away from the fact that every article about Gore mentions that he buys carbon offsets, which I still think are completely bogus, but at least they also say he flies commercial to save energy, unlike the Queen.