Except for its excessive 4000 square-foot size, this house is an environmentalist's dream. Completely off the grid since 2002, it features the latest energy saving and renewable power systems. A passive solar design is backed up by a geothermal heating/cooling system using 300-foot-deep groundwater. Graywater reclamation treats and reuses wastewater, notably in irrigating a fruit orchard. Rain efficiently collected by the roof goes into a large cistern.
It was not built by someone like the Rocky Mountain Institute, but by a nearby religious cult which also operates a tourist trap, Homestead Heritage, for income. And it was not built for a wealthy individual into sustainability and renewable energy. Oh, it was for a wealthy individual -- who knows some things you don't.
This is George W. Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch. It just doesn't add up. He has no need to save money on heating and cooling. The energy policy of this petro millionaire, while in office, clearly rejected conservation and attacked renewable energy programs. Why would he invest big in something that is in complete contradiction to everything he has said, believed and done? No explanation has been offered; the lack of curiosity about it seems baffling.
Remember when Cheney, as Vice President, ran and hid in an "undisclosed location" immediately after the 9/11 attacks? G. Bush prepared this location for his family's survival when the effects of oil depletion coupled with greatly increased demand and overpopulation hit us. The entire industrialized world should have been doing the same in the almost 40 years since the oil embargo of the early '70s showed us the societal and financial devastation that even a temporary constriction of energy will cause.
In the 1960s, we consumed 6 billion barrels of oil per year, while finding 30 - 60 billion barrels yearly. Free trade, globalization and population explosion since then has sent demand up sharply as the easy to tap reserves were used up. Now we consume 30 billion barrels per year and are finding less then 4 billion barrels annually. Reserves are overstated by the oil industry and sovereign states because an honest accounting would send stock prices into the basement and destabilize nations. No new refineries have been built in the United States since 1976, and mergers are accelerating. If they are not investing, it's clear that the industry, and Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, are preparing for the end of the game. They played it well (knowledge is power, after all), and they'll win.