Lotus Founder Mitch Kapor Learns It Isn’t Easy to Build Both Big and Green in Berkeley

You’ll likely recall how much flak Al Gore received (and probably continues to receive) once the size of his mammoth house was revealed, post-Inconvenient Truth (Snopes has some particularly good info on what’s been true and what hasn’t in talk about his house’s energy consumption, as well as this comparison to former President Bush‘s house) . But Gore lives just outside Nashville, not exactly an epicenter of the green movement. Not so with Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus, who decided he wanted to build a gigantic mansion in Berkeley, California, albeit a green one. As the NY Times reports, it’s that mixture of “gigantic” and “green” that isn’t sitting so well with the locals. Despite Kapor’s efforts to make everything as green as possible, both the city and activists don’t believe the two can exist alongside one another, making note that Kapor’s going to have to knock down an already existing house on the property and “a 10,000-square-foot house is likely to require four times the resources of the average new American house.” The city has approved the plans, but there will be an appeal hearing in late-April to try to get it blocked. Here’s a bit from one of the people at the forefront of the movement to get the house shut down before it even begins construction, Gary Parsons, writing in the Berkeleyside blog:

Staff calls this project “green.” Although the ten car garage may be a good idea since there is no street parking on this narrow street, to call a nearly 10,000 square foot home green (especially when it is built only for a couple to inhabit) is absurd. That the staff, the owners and the architects indulge in this kind of greenwashing only serves to make a joke out of Berkeley’s environmental aspirations.