I’ve wondered this before: can you have a truly large house that is really eco-friendly? Gisele Bundchen tries to make such a case for their new home:
While Giants fans have been rabble-rousing Tom Brady over the upcoming Super Bowl XLVI, environmentalists are giving the Patriots quarterback and his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen the stink eye for a different reason – their brand new, 22,000 sq. ft. mega mansion in Brentwood, CA. The celebrity couple recently moved into the $20 million home with their young son, and one has to ask why a two and a half person family needs such a ginormous space (if you do the calculations, that’s about 7,333 sq. ft. per person). Bundchen, who is known for her eco-activism, rebutted people who questioned how such a McMansion could be called eco by touting its sustainable features such as solar panels on the roof and rainwater recovery systems, but we wonder if that’s enough to call the ginormous home green.
The eight bedroom mansion has a six-car garage, a lagoon-like swimming pool, a spa, a gym, a nursery, a butler’s room, an elevator and a wine cellar. Apparently, Bundchen and Brady purchased the land in 2008 and had an original plan for the house, but ended up adding to it because they felt it was too small. To give you more of an idea of how sprawling the home is, the two wings are connected by a bridge.
While the vast size of the manse has many environmentalists raising their eyebrows, Bundchen is reported to have explained that the home is actually quite sustainable with solar panels installed on the roof, rainwater recovery systems, waste reduction and recycling programs, energy-efficient lighting and appliances and eco-friendly building materials. She also made the case that while the Brady clan is only three people, with all of their relatives constantly visiting, they need more space.
Perhaps it is more sustainable than the typical 22,000 square foot home (how many of those are there in the United States?) but this probably isn’t the right metric to use. Is it as sustainable as a 10,000 square foot house or even a 5,000 square foot house? Perhaps. What we need to happen is for a big star to have a huge home like this but then have it be LEED certified – would it be green enough?
Beyond the eco question, I think a typical person might ask what one even does with that much space. That must be one big family to host…but this is related to another issue: the size of a home itself and the land it requires could itself be seen as wasteful beyond the actual energy the home requires.