October 8, 2008 at 3:34PM
by Tommi Lewis Tilden
The 90210 zip may still be home to the massive mansions we first
caught glimpses of on "The Beverly Hillbillies," but these days The
Clampetts are converting their estates to green, and not the kind you
roll in. It seems the Beverly Hills City Council is borrowing a page
from the eco-friendly handbook by offering incentives for
homeowners to build or remodel in an energy efficient manner.
The famed city also recently passed a Green Building ordinance
mandating environmentally friendly requirements for commercial and
multi-family developments. We can only hope that speculator Donald Trump is
mindful of these eco initiatives since lately he's been snapping up
several acres of properties around the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Happily, there are many Hollywood-types we can count on to pave the way toward eco-conscious abodes. Take Johnny Depp-in
2005, the star converted his Bahamas island home to run on solar
hydrogen technology. Depp's eco enlightenment may have rubbed off on
his "Pirates of the Caribbean" costar Orlando Bloom. Last year
Bloom built an enviro-friendly house in London. "It's as green as I can
make it," Bloom said on green design website Inhabitat. "It's got solar panels on the roof, energy efficient light bulbs-newer technology basically that is environmentally friendly."
Then there are stars that take it to the max, like musician and longtime activist Jackson Browne
His Malibu ranch home is completely off the grid, and is far from
running on empty. The airy barn-style house has two loft bedrooms, two
guest bedrooms, skylights and tons of windows. "It's made out of
masonry and rebar in a way that it stays cool all year round," Browne's
live-in girlfriend Dianna Cohen
told "Living with Ed," a Planet Green series starring Ed Begley, Jr.
Browne's dwelling is powered by wind turbine and solar panels; a
solar-weather measuring station sits atop the property
and a well provides water. "I regard this place as sort of an
ongoing experiment," Browne said. "I think if you set out to do it all
at once, it might seem like a huge expense, but we've done it a little
bit at a time." Maybe Browne can share his expertise with Dennis Haysbert
("24," "The Unit"), who is reportedly building his own off the grid Malibu digs.
Ed Begley, Jr., Jackson Browne and Katey Sagal.
"Everybody Loves Raymond" producer Phil Rosenthal
may not be off
the grid but his house is eco-friendly cool, replete with recycled cork
floors, denim insulation and a waterless urinal. Rosenthal and his
actress wife Monica
(she played Brad Garrett
's wife on "Raymond") even recycled the show's set furniture-Frank
's kitchen table sits in their guesthouse. Larry
"J.R. Ewing" Hagman
says he played the meanest
oilman in the world but in real life, he is an energy-efficient cowboy,
even in his magnificent 25,000 square foot residence. How? Hagman's home
sports more solar panels than probably any other single residence. He
also has retractable skylights, negating the need for air conditioning,
and claims his annual energy bill totals $13. Altruistically, Hagman's
system goes beyond his own needs; he supplies solar power to five
nearby lower-income homes.
Actress Rachel McAdams
, currently on the big screen in "The Lucky Ones" opposite Tim Robbins
, tells People
she is planning a green remodel on her newly purchased house. She might want to hit up "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier
for tips-the posse king hosts another show "Alter Eco" on Planet Green,
where he and a team perform enviro-makeovers on a surf shop,
skate park, art gallery and other hip spaces.
Or McAdams can check out PETA activist Alicia Silverstone
's home-"Everything we've brought into this house is environmentally sound," the actress told InStyle.com
. But few can rival Jackson Browne's ex, actress Daryl Hannah
, whose Rocky Mountain, Colorado home is a restored stagecoach stop that operates entirely off the grid
. Hannah is so hard-core green, her couch is made of mossy stone that she actually waters to keep alive.
Celebrity home designer and "Holmes on Homes" TV personality Mike Holmes
is another go-to green tip guy. The home renovation advocate is
planning to build sustainable houses in a Canadian community with
features like living roofs, grey-water recapture systems, solar assist hot
water and radiant floor heating.
want a home that will not burn down, will not blow down, will not fall
down under any circumstances, and it's really not that hard," the
outspoken Holmes told ecorazzi.com
. "We've had, for years, the possibility of building like this. I'm just stunned that we haven't moved on it."
President Bill Clinton and actor Brad Pitt, founder of the Make It Right Foundation, pose with DeeCarla Rogers while they break ground for new homes in the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans.
has moved on it, with Holmes as part of the team
New Orleans' lower ninth ward that was devastated by the levee breaks
in 2005's Hurricane Katrina. Pitt's goal
is to build 150 homes, all designed to prevent future catastrophe by
being raised three feet above ground. Besides solar panels and other
enviro-friendly features, the homes will capture rainwater to reuse for
gardening and toilets. Pitt's Make it Right project is being touted as
the future model for our urban cities.
Nice to know that Hollywood has come a long way from Granny, Jed and Company and is consciously making a difference.