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From the Texas State Fair

I spent an hour in the “Home of Tomorrow” exhibit at the Texas State Fair in Dallas a few days ago.

The first house was “The Micro-Home of Tomorrow,” a 150-square-foot home with a bedroom,
kitchen and “Great Room.” I talked with the builder, a young man who himself
lives in a 1650-square-foot hous with his wife and eight (8!) children
who are being home-schooled. I mentioned that I was interested in smaller houses
for environmental reasons and that I was doing a blog called “We Consume Too
Much.” He volunteered that he was a “Christian” who believed in Scripture literally,
including that God created the Earth in six days, and that everything happens
according to His plans.

When I talked about climate change, he said climate fluctuates naturally, and in any
event God did not intend the Earth to last forever.When I mentioned evidence of polar ice caps melting quickly, he said that the icecaps were leftover water from the Biblical flood, and that God had promised that humankind would not be punished by water again. Whatever happens to the
Earth’s climate and natural systems is God’s intention and nothing we should worry

The builder volunteered that I probably wouldn’t approve of his truck, a four-door,
four-wheel-drive beast which he has custom modified, very extensively, so the it
generates 550 horsepower, gets 30 miles to a gallon of diesel on the highway, and
emits a black cloud of diesel exhaust whenever he accelerates. His modifications
do not comply with environmental laws, and he criticized the EPA for requiring
pollution standards that excessively lowered fuel efficiency. He was quite willing to
leave lots of black stuff in the air for all us so he could save dollars on fuel.

I also spoke with a 50ish builder of custom homes, who built the
2400-square-foot “Net Zero Energy Home of Tomorrow” I walked through. He
says his clients have become much more focused on saving energy in the past few
years. Many owners in upper-income areas of Dallas tell him to put the best, most
energy efficient appliances, insulation, and house configurations to work in the
houses he builds for them, even though that adds 25% to the construction cost of
the home. I thought his model home at the Fair was comfortable and seemed much more efficient that the usual Dallas home of its size.


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