Green McMansions?

I recently received an email from St. Louis Green, Inc. inviting me to their, “Where Grand Meets Green,” home tour.  (Excuse me while I step away from my computer so I don’t vomit on the keyboard.)  I’m sorry, but I fail to see what’s “green” about a McMansion built out in the suburbs, accessible only by car.  I don’t care how energy-efficient you make the walls or what building materials you use.  These “homes” would more accurately be called “compounds.”  I must admit that I wasted time and money driving out to Town and Country (yes, that really is the name of one of the more affluent suburbs around here) for one of their home tours in the past — never again!

I want to tour homes in the city, homes that are affordable for normal middle-class families (and I’m talking about the middle-class that makes less than $100,000/year), heck, maybe even affordable for low-income families.  Homes that are truly green:

  • Not built with outrageous square-footage
  • Built in the city, in dense, mixed-use areas
  • Easily accessible by biking, walking, or public transit
  • Include rehabs — retrofitting current buildings for maximum efficiency, not always building new

Some examples of these exist, but not nearly enough.  While many builders give a nod to this type of construction, few seem really invested in it, because it won’t make them rich.  If someone has close to one million dollars that he/she wants to spend to build an over-sized, green-washed home out in Town and Country, fine, but let’s not celebrate or reward that choice by hosting a “green” event.

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