products by: Michael Chagala

Solar Power and Celebs-They’re Just Like Us

December 14, 2012

Hollywood has long been a hotbed of environmental activism, with actors putting their fame behind a number of causes, including solar power and clean energy. And many celebrities aren’t just talk—they have installed solar power systems and other energy-efficient, environmentally friendly measures in their homes. While celebs throughout the world are finding it easy to be green—Johnny Depp reportedly wants to have his private island run on solar and hydrogen power—there are several in Los Angeles at the forefront of the solar and renewable energy movement.

  • Jane Fonda recently bought a $7.3 million Beverly Hills home with energy-efficient features. The 1961, two-story house is more than 7,500 square feet and has a solar-heated pool and photovoltaic panels.
  • Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady recently had a baby girl, and when they eventually bring her home to their Brentwood mansion, she’ll be living in high—and green—style. The home has garnered a lot of attention for its size—22,000 square feet—but there are several environmentally friendly features. In addition to solar panels, the estate also reportedly includes energy-saving appliances, lighting, rainwater recycling, and more.
  • Broadcast journalist Lisa Ling takes green living to a whole new level. Her Santa Monica home is LEED platinum certified and carbon neutral. She has said the house, designed by Marco DiMaccio, has more than 60 solar panels, a 5,000-gallon water tank, radiant heating, and an EV-charging station, among other measures.
  • Julia Roberts recently renovated her 6,000-square-foot Malibu home to make it more ecofriendly. One of the biggest upgrades—enough solar panels to cover three roofs.
  • Another Julia—Julia Louis-Dreyfus—greened her home in 2003. The Santa Barbara-area home dates back to the 1930s but has contemporary energy-efficient features, including rooftop solar panels and solar water heating, a retractable sunroof that cuts back the need for air conditioning, and salvaged building materials.
  • When it comes to environmental activism, Pierce Brosnan is one of Hollywood’s leading lights. His support for various causes has earned him a place in the Environmental Hall of Fame and his Malibu home is right in line with his beliefs. The home generates so much solar power that the Brosnan family sells the surplus. There is also a solar-powered compost heap, a water recycling system, insulated windows, climate control, and much more.
  • If there is any celebrity most associated with environmental awareness, it’s Ed Begley Jr. A longtime proponent of renewable energy, Begley has begun building a new, ecofriendly home, a process he is documenting for a web series, “On Begley Street.” Solar panels will face east and west, a large tank beneath the home will act as a basin for rainwater, and the materials from the demolished house on the property were repurposed for other building projects.

Hollywood celebrities are always on the cutting edge of fashion, culture, and now the environment. For better or worse, we love our celebrities and tend to follow their lead – in this case there is little doubt the legacy they are creating is for the better. From carbon-neutral homes to selling surplus solar energy, maybe the question shouldn’t be who are you wearing, but how big is your footprint.

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