AT On ... Green Luxury ... Is it an Oxymoron?

AT On ... Green Luxury ... Is it an Oxymoron?

Stephanie Kinnear
Jan 15, 2009

In the past, we've talked a lot here at Re-nest about square footage. We've argued over whether or not a large home can be considered a green home. And I don't know if we've come to any firm conclusions.

Now, I'm thinking a little about the phrase "green luxury."

After stumbling on an interesting post about a palatial green remodel in Santa Barbara over at Michelle Kaufmann's blog, I started rolling the phrase over and over in my brain. Green luxury .... green luxury.

This is what Michelle had to say on the subject:
Whenever I hear or see a great new example of eco luxury I think, "Yes! This is what green can be: beautiful, elegant, something people would be thrilled to call their own." Then I want to let people know all about it so they can understand for themselves that luxury and green don't have to be mutually exclusive.

I live in a small one bedroom apartment and don't harbor any delusions that I'll ever be able to afford a solar-heated swimming pool -- or a bathroom the size of a studio apartment (with dual flush toilets) -- but are these things less green because they're unattainable for most of us?

It's tempting to say yes -- by its very nature, the word "luxury" indicates the unnecessary. It's nice to have a gigantic bathroom, but does anyone really need 500 square feet to brush their teeth? Well the answer is usually "no." However, does it do us any favors to limit the scope of the green movement to urban homesteaders and those of us who are super keen on the first R -- reduce?

Is it better to be inclusive? Getting the second two Rs right -- reusing and recycling -- is WAY better than getting them all wrong, isn't it? What do you think? Can green and luxury coexist peacefully, and in a way that benefits the environment?

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