(CNSNews.com) - In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy efficient, the power use at the former vice president's house has increased more than 10 percent, a nonprofit research group reported Tuesday.
"A man's commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home," said Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, in a news release. "Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption."
Using data obtained through a public records request to the Nashville Electric Service, the Center determined that during the past year, Gore's mansion in the Belle Meade area of Nashville used 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the Center revealed in February 2007 that the former vice president's home "consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year."
A few days later, President Bush's "Western White House" in Crawford, Texas, was praised as an "eco-friendly haven" by the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Gore promised to make his mansion -- an 80-year old house that received a gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council -- more efficient by adding solar panels, installing a geothermal system, replacing existing light bulbs with more efficient models and overhauling the home's windows and ductwork.
Since taking those steps, the former vice president uses an average of 17,768 kWh per month -- 1,638 kWh more energy per month than before the renovations -- at a cost of $16,533, Johnson noted.
By comparison, the average American household consumes 11,040 kWh in an entire year, according to the Energy Information Administration.
While a spokesman for an investment firm co-founded by the former vice president told Cybercast News Service that Gore has not been profiting from his crusade against global warming, Johnson strongly disagreed.
"In the wake of becoming the most well-known global warming alarmist, Gore won an Oscar, a Grammy and the Nobel Peace Prize," he said. "In addition, Gore saw his personal wealth increase by an estimated $100 million thanks largely to speaking fees and investments related to global warming hysteria.
"Actions speak louder than words, and Gore's actions prove that he views climate change not as a serious problem, but as a money-making opportunity," Johnson added. "Gore is exploiting the public's concern about the environment to line his pockets and enhance his profile."
However, Gore spokesperson Kalee Kreider disputed the Center's claims.
The utility bills for the former vice president's mansion have gone down 40 percent since the makeover, Kreider told The Tennessean. The drop was largely due to the home's new geothermal heating and cooling system, which relies on the stable temperatures of the earth or groundwater beneath a building to power its heating and cooling systems.
As for the increase in the electric bills, Kreider said that the three-year renovation on the structure wasn't completed until November, so it's a bit early to attempt a before-and-after comparison.
In addition, the Gores take part in the Nashville Electric Service's Green Power Switch program, which allows them to buy their electricity from renewable sources like wind power, solar energy or methane gas.
"When they do use power, it's green power," Kreider added, noting that 33 solar panels also supply about 4 percent of the household's power needs.
While Johnson told Cybercast News Service that the Center stands behind its data, the Gore home is also the target of another group critical of the former vice president's stance on global warming.
As part of its cross-country "Hot-Air Tour," Americans for Prosperity (AFP) hopes to fly its hot-air balloon over the former vice president's mansion on Friday in an attempt to "remind him of all the hot air in the global warming debate," AFP President Tim Phillips said on the group's Web site.
"Alarmists who are pushing economically devastating climate change policies are out of touch with average Americans," Phillips stated. "We think American families need to know what these proposals will cost them -- lost jobs, even higher energy prices and less freedom."
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