Gore: Repairs Near Done on 'Green' Home

By ERIK SCHELZIG
The Associated Press
Friday, June 8, 2007; 8:59 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Al Gore, the environmental activist stung by criticism over his house's energy efficiency, said Friday that renovations are nearly complete to make it a model "green" home.

"This plan has been in the works for a long time," the former vice president said in an interview with The Associated Press. "The only thing that has changed is that we're more public about it because of the misleading attack by a global-warming denier group."

Earlier this year, a conservative group criticized Gore, citing electric bills that were far more than the typical Nashville home. Utility records showed the Gore family paid an average monthly electric bill of about $1,200 last year for its 10,000-square-foot home.

Gore's renovation project, which he said has been in the works for months, seeks to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Once his upscale neighborhood changed zoning laws earlier this year, Gore was able to place solar panels on his roof, and he's now preparing to install a geothermal system that will, among other things, drastically reduce the cost of heating his pool.

Gore is also upgrading windows and ductwork, installing more energy-efficient light bulbs and creating a rainwater collection system for irrigation and water management.

The home houses offices for Gore and his wife, Tipper, as well as a commercial kitchen for formal events.

Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, the group that initially criticized Gore, said the "renovations are obviously in direct response to our finding that he's a hypocrite on the issue of global warming."

Among other topics:

_Gore reiterated he has no plans to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, though he continues to refuse to completely rule out a bid. "You know my answer on that," he said.

_Gore expressed frustration at President Bush's refusal to embrace tougher emissions standards at the Group of Eight meetings in Germany this week. "Nothing happened," Gore said of an agreement to pursue voluntary emissions standards. "They're still on dead center, and it's mainly because of Bush blocking it."

_Gore is currently focusing his attention on the final preparations for the seven-continent Live Earth concerts on July 7. Gore said he plans to announce details of the addition of Istanbul, Turkey, to the concert venue list next week.

As for the journey he's taken since losing the 2000 election despite winning the popular vote, Gore cited "the old cliche that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

"I've learned a few things over the last six or seven years that I didn't necessarily expect to learn _ but I'm glad I did," he said.

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On the Net:

Al Gore: http://www.algore.com

U.S. Green Building Council: http://www.usgbc.org


© 2007 The Associated Press