Jay Leno's Big Dog Garage needed $450,000+ to make it green

Starting in the middle of 2006, eco-celebrities like Ed Begley, Jr. finally got to gearhead Jay Leno. Leno, who's no stranger to AutoblogGreen, has had a rare car fetish for a long time. But, according to the L.A. Times, sometime last year, Leno decided to turn his attention to vehicles that were a little less aggressive to the environment. We've documented a lot of Leno's vehicular enjoyments on the site, but his Big Dog Garage hasn't been quite as common a presence.

The gist of the LA Times article is that Leno has put $450,000 worth of solar panels and a $19,000 wind turbine on his garage. This is admirable, but let me highlight three quotes found spread throughout the article.

First, the caption to the photo above, taken by LA TImes photographer Don Kelsen:

General Electric solar panels. Leno's 54-kilowatt system powers the lights, tools and air conditioning in his 17,000-square-foot garage, often generating enough extra energy that it feeds back to the grid.

Second, from the first page of the article:

At various points during our interview, he wandered into his office -- yes, his garage has an office, as well as a gourmet kitchen -- to see how many kilowatts were being generated.
"We're up to 33," Leno said, running his finger along the monitor. "The energy to power 40 homes. And it's not even peak."

And lastly, from the final page of the article:

... the [solar] panels cover 41% of the power consumed at his garage; 59% continues to come from Burbank Water and Power.
"Two-thirds of the day, there's not enough sunlight to generate electricity," said John Joyce, solar support program manager for the utility.

Perhaps you can see where I'm going with this. Jay Leno can, on bright and sunny days, generate enough electricity to power more than 40 homes with his solar system. But, that's enough for just 40 percent of the power needs of his garage?!? WTF does he do in that garage that uses as much energy as all the homes on a residential street? Whatever it is, I have a hard time calling this garage green. Greener than before, sure, but excess consumption and energy use is as green as brown.

[Source: LA Timew via Ecorazzi]

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