Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Al Gore's residence uses considerably more energy than the average American home.
Example: [Collected February 2007]
Origins: The above-quoted 2007 report from the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR), claiming that Al Gore's Tennessee home uses over
The specific numbers involved were disputable (the TCPR claimed Gore's home uses electricity at a rate more than
Some important points not covered in the report, however, was whether equating the Gores' home to the average American home was really a relevant comparison. A spokesperson for the Gore family responded by noting some mitigating factors, such as the fact that the Gores' Nashville residence isn't an "average"
The former vice-president maintained that comparing raw energy-usage figures is misleading and that he leads what he advocates, a "carbon-neutral lifestyle," by purchasing energy from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and methane gas to balance out the carbon emissions produced in generating the electricity his home uses:
Kalee Kreider, a spokesperson for the Gores, pointed out that both Al and Tipper Gore work out of their home and she argued that "the bottom line is that every family has a different carbon footprint. And what Vice President Gore has asked is for families to calculate that footprint and take steps to reduce and offset it."Also, by the end of 2007 the Gores completed renovations that made their home much more energy-efficient:
A carbon footprint is a calculation of the CO2 fossil fuel emissions each person is responsible for, either directly because of his or her transportation and energy consumption or indirectly because of the manufacture and eventual breakdown of products he or she uses.
The vice president has done that, Kreider argues, and the family tries to offset that carbon footprint by purchasing their power through the local Green Power Switch
Al Gore, who was criticized for high electric bills at his Tennessee mansion, has completed a host of improvements to make the home more energy efficient, and a building-industry group has praised the house as one of the nation's most environmentally friendly.Last updated: 28 September 2009
The former vice president has installed solar panels, a rainwater-collection system and geothermal heating. He also replaced all incandescent lights with compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs.
"Short of tearing it down and staring anew, I don't know how it could have been rated any higher," said Kim Shinn of the U.S. Green Building Council, which gave the house its second-highest rating for sustainable design.
Gore's improvements cut the home's summer electrical consumption by 11 percent compared with a year ago, according to utility records reviewed by The Associated Press. Most Nashville homes used 20 percent to 30 percent more electricity during the same period because of a record heat wave.
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