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15,000 Square Feet of Certified Green Mega-Mansion

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By Jeffrey

Have you heard about Acqua Liana, the green-mega mansion created by luxury real estate developer, Frank McKinney?

LOTS of folks around the green blogosphere are asking if the words "mansion" and "green" can rightly be used in the same sentence.

Can they?

Are the treehugging critics just letting their green streak–and not the eco-friendly kind–get the best of them (since the mansion has 3 different green certifications), or do they really have a valid point? 


The green blogosphere has errupted since the beginning of March with the announcement that this green uber mansion is complete.

Is it green or is it green washing?

That is the question.

Let’s find out what all the fuss is about, shall we?

Acqua Liana Elements and Features:

  • Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, the Florida Green Building Council, and Energy Star for Homes
  • Environmentally conscious lighting that cuts down on fixture consumption by 70%

  • Enough pools, reflecting ponds, water gardens, misters, waterfalls and strategic landscaping to drop the site temperature by 2-3 degrees over neighboring properties, thus reducing cooling costs
  • Solar panels generating enough energy to run the entire home on certain days
  • A water system that collects enough runoff water from the cedar roof to fill an average swimming pool every 14 days
  • The harvested rainwater is also used to fill the water garden and irrigate the landscape
  • Ultra-high efficient air conditioning and purification systems that make air quality 2x cleaner than a hospital’s operating room

  • Use of enough reclaimed and renewable wood to save over 10.5 acres of rain forest

  • During construction over 340,000 pounds of debris and trash was recycled. Over 85% of all debris was diverted, and will never reach a landfill
  • 93% of all stains, paints, and coatings are low VOC

Sounds pretty green huh? Why does everyone have such a big problem with it?

Because it’s 15,000 square feet!

The people that have a problem with this all say that no matter what great green design and structural or energy efficient elements Acqua Liana has, a 15,000 square foot mansion is a tremendous waste of resources.

Personally, I Think That Complaint is CRAP…

I tend to agree with what Frank McKinney told Inhabitat in an interview last fall, at the onset of the construction,

"If those folks [my buying public, the ultra-wealthy] are going to continue to buy big houses, why not build them green? Why not take what the uneducated blogger is going to see as a monstrosity – they’re not going to stop building them. The way they were building them used a tremendous amount of waste. If they are going to be buying big houses, why not build them green? Why not take the footprint that that house is going to leave and reduce it from the goliath footprint?"

Seriously, people are always gonna build big homes (whether they be 5,000 or 25,000 square feet), so why not build them green…or at least greener.

Something is better than nothing, as far as I’m concerned.

What’s Everyone Else Saying?

  • The always groovy folks at GroovyGreen seem to kinda share my thoughts, saying,

    "Pretty incredible for a home that massive to embrace all of those green characteristics — but it’s proof that any dwelling can be made more efficient with the technologies now available."

  • CNET‘s people can apparently see it both ways,

    "While we can’t help but wonder if the words "green" and "mansion" inherently represent a contradiction, the 15,071-square-foot mansion does incorporate plenty of eco features."

  • GreenDaily quotes The Wall Street Journal’s blog, The Wealth Report, wondering,

    "Could LEED become the next "organic", as in something that gets plastered on everything to the point where it doesn’t mean anything?"

  • Inhabitat mercilessly grills Frank McKinney with some tough questions that probably DID need to be asked.
  • The Sustainablog thinks the green-ness of the project will ultimately be determined by the future owner’s habits,

    "If the owner is about flash and cash and ultra-wealthy fad fashions, it probably means something different than if someone moves in and truly lives the small things in a green way."

  • EcoFriend thinks the cost and size of the mansion kind of negate it’s green-ness,

    "Apart from the $29 million price tag, the technologies used in the house are praiseworthy. But we still believe that going green at a low cost is a much better alternative."

  • Earthfirst thinks that the only shot this home has of being green is if it were inhabitated by multiple families,

    "Being truly green means using space and resources wisely.  If this home were to be occupied by multiple families, putting every square foot of space to optimal use, that would be one thing. But how much do you wanna bet one spoiled couple with a couple chihuahuas ends up moving into this place, if it ever sells?"

So what do YOU think? Green mansion dream home or green washing fo’ sho’?