Green Guilty Pleasures in Bethesda / Washington DC

So "Green" is in…everyone knows that. It’s totally uncool to be non-Green…we all need to have an awareness of the environment and a commitment to doing our part.

About a year ago, I stopped by the see a friend who was busily cleaning out her garage. “What are you doing,” I asked….probably a little stupidly, because it was clear that she was cleaning out her garage…only not. Her answer was, “I’m reducing my carbon footprint by 50%.” Got it? Green.

Going Green in Greater Bethesda?

Green definitely carries in to home building and home remodeling. Here’s a headline from an open house ad in the Washington Post several weeks ago:

“Energy Saving Luxurious New ‘Green’ House.”

Sounds good, right?   If you were a potential buyer for this $2M property, you’d feel good about spending your money on an environmentally responsible new construction.

But wait? Are we really committed to going “green” or are there environmentally unfriendly features of new construction and renovations that appeal to practically all of us?

Let’s keep reading this advertisement from the Washington Post (in bold):

“Fine craftsmanship & custom details throughout brick and stone home.” Well, everyone loves fine craftsmanship and custom details but where did the brick and stone come from?  If it’s not local, and it needed to be transported any distance, then it’s not green.

“3 finished levels with 10’ boxed and coffered ceilings…” Three finished levels would probably indicate an oversized house that requires a lot of energy to run it…and 10’ ceilings? …definitely not easy to heat and cool.

...“Master Suite with heated floors" (energy again), Brazillian cherry floors (the environmental cost of transporting non-native materials)

…the good news for this “green” house is that it does have a “Solar panel system” -  but that seems to be mentioned as almost an afterthought.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not criticizing. I think that we all want to “be” green…but we also have non-green guilty pleasures that we don’t want to give up. Besides the features recognized in the Post ad, here are a few other non-green items that appeal to buyers (all of us for that matter):

Green Pleasures in Bethesda / DCSwimming pools, sports courts, heated garages and driveways, multiple garages, an abundance of glass, gas heating (instead of geo thermal), large, excessive floor plans with big rooms, lots of recessed “standard” light fixtures (as opposed to fewer and low voltage), exotic materials sourced globally (bamboo, ipe, other important woods..imported stone, shingles etc) opposed to using recycled and available local materials, multiple shower heads, rain showers, steam showers, oversized whirlpool tubs


  • Do you agree with this assessment that many of us strive to be green but may not want to sacrifice a few "guilty pleasures"?
  • And, of course, if you have any, what's your "green vice"?

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