Green Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
Wealthy homeowners have a variety of reasons for making their homes energy-independent. Along with the ecological benefits, such homes provide direct financial rewards, especially in a time of rising energy costs. One couple who owns a solar-powered estate in Florida spends only $1,000 a year (or approximately $83 a month) in energy costs! If you can afford the up-front costs of installing such energy systems (about $40,000 in this case), the return on investment can be impressive.
Another driver is a simple desire for energy independence. Natural disasters, combined with distrust of the nation's energy grid, make sustainable houses a type of insurance against power failure.
Whatever the reasons behind sustainable housing, environmentalists hope that the trend will "trickle down" to less affluent homeowners, who will see the value -- both ecological and economic -- of investing in self-reliant energy technology. The rich, after all, are typically early adopters of technologies that become commonplace later on, once prices fall.
Sources: MSNBC, WorldChanging