Since the Tennessee Center for Policy Research broke the story about Al Gore’s energy consumption Monday afternoon, a predictable pattern of counter-stories followed: the TCPR is illegitimate, the information is a lie, it doesn’t matter because the underlying story of global warming is still real, his energy consumption isn’t really that bad . . .
It’s on this latter point that I can lend some background. An example of that line of thinking is this from The Anonymous Liberal:
The press release claimed that Al Gore’s home in Nashville consumed 221,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity last year compared to a national average of 10,656 kWh per household. . . . The 10,656 number comes from data published by the Department of Energy. But it’s an average of all households nationwide (including apartment units and mobile homes) and across all climate regions. As it turns out, the region in which Gore lives–the East South Central–has the highest per household energy usage of any climate region in the country, a good 50% higher than the national average quoted in the press release (I assume this is due to the combination of cold winters and hot, muggy summers). So that’s misleading in and of itself.Moreover, Gore lives in a large home (10,000 sq. ft.). If you look at the data, it’s clear that Gore’s energy usage per square foot (even assuming the 221,000 kWh number is accurate) is well within the average range for his climate region. . .
But is that true?
The Krumms are fortunate enough to live in a relatively nice section of West Nashville, just like Al Gore. We moved in to our house in late 2002, just like Al Gore. We then began a major renovation of our home, just like Al Gore. We also have a large home, although it’s only about half the size of Al Gore’s. So let’s do some math.
Rather than taking the TCPR at its word about the Gores’ energy consumption, lets rely instead upon documentation provided by Nashville Electric Service just today. It shows that in the last twelve months he consumed 194,250 KWH of energy, ranging from a high of 22,619 KWH in August to a low of 12,098 in December. That compares with our annual energy consumption of 35,215 KWH. Accounting for home size, the five members of the Krumm household consumed 7.34 KWH per square foot over the last twelve months. During the same period, Mr. and Mrs. Gore used 19.43 KWH per square foot–nearly three times our family’s energy consumption.
Okay, so maybe he has electric heat. We should then compare gas bills to get a complete picture.
Unfortunately, I don’t have access to his gas bills, but since the TCPR has proved itself worthy with its accurate portrayal of the electrical data, let’s just take their numbers.
They claim (via Drudge) that the Gore household used $6,432 worth of gas in 2006, ranging from a monthly high of $990 to a low of $170. By contrast our gas bill was only $1,137 last year, with a monthly range from $33 to $205.
Again, accounting for size, in 2006 the Krumms spent 24 cents per square foot to heat our home and water, and to cook our meals. The Gores spent nearly triple that amount: 64 cents per square foot.
But wait there’s more. That’s just the main house. When you add in the Gore’s pool and pool house ($6,528 last year) they paid $1.30 per square foot for gas–more than five times what we spent during the same period just a few blocks away.
I mentioned the renovations that both the Krumm and Gore houses recently underwent. Mary Mancini called the Gore’s home improvements “modest.” Umm . . . from someone (in the construction industry, btw) who lives in the neighborhood and daily ran by his house, let me just tell you that there was nothing modest about the renovations to the Gore household.
According to public records the Gores have pulled 13 construction permits since buying their home in June of 2002. Firms pulling the permits include: a swimming pool company, an audio-visual installer, and a number of electrical, mechanical, and plumbing firms.
We pulled ten permits during the same period. But even that’s misleading, because while we pulled all of our permits through the city of Nashville, since the Gore’s live in Belle Meade, they only pulled sub-permits through Nashville. Their construction and demolition permits would have been generated in Belle Meade, making their total number of permits even larger. I say all this to say that the Gore’s home renovations were NOT modest.
Still, in spite of the fact that the entire Gore home was under renovation for over a year, they didn’t apparently incorporate significant energy-saving ideas into the design–at least not until now. The result is that they spent several hundreds of thousands of dollars on home improvements but still have a house that will consume a million dollars worth of energy over the length of a thirty year mortgage–a cost which is three to five times higher than what it should be, even accounting for the size of his large home.
I think that you have to go back to the forged 60 Minutes documents to find another example of a story that broke so quickly and so thoroughly, but was so viciously denied–against all evidence–by partisans who refused to believe the facts.
And the facts are this. Four and a half years ago Al Gore bought a large home and made it larger, but did very little to reduce his own energy consumption. Instead, he spent the same time telling you how to reduce yours.
See this to read more about Al Gore’s one consistency: he is consistently for censorship. And another hypocrisy: he advocates censorship for only one side.
The Anonymous Liberal commented below with this:
The Department of Energy lists the average nationwide energy consumption per household as 10,656 kwh and the average consumption per squarefoot as 13.7 kwh. But for the East South Central region (Tennesse, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi), the average is 15,447 kwh per household and 19.83 kwh per square foot. As you state in your post, Gore’s consumption is 19.43 kwh per square foot, less than the average.
Well, if you do the math that means 10,656 KWH divided by 13.7 KWH per sf means that the average household is 778 square feet. Using the numbers for the East South Central region, 19.83 KWH per sf into 15,447 KWH means that the average household is 779 sf.
Better numbers come from the 2006 Buildings Energy Data Book which shows that the average American single family home is 2,047 square feet. Dividing that into the 15,447 KWH of average annual usage in the South East Region, and we find that the average energy user in this area annually consumes 7.55 KWH per square foot of home–not the 19.83 KWH that Anonymous Liberal erroneously claims.