billionaire building 72,000 square foot house

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A software entrepreneur is building a 72,000 square foot chateau-style residence in the Missouri Ozarks. According to the video clip on the website linked above, the house--dubbed Pensmore--will be one of the four biggest in the country. Now well along in construction, it's being built entirely of cast concrete. ICFs and special steel reinforcing fibers in the concrete mix yield a superinsulated shell that will withstand an F5 tornado. The website projects near net zero energy use. But can a single-family house this big possibly be considered green?

Absolutely. Pensmore is more than green, however; it is innovation. A great deal of thought, engineering, and excitement lie behind the floorplans.

Pensmore is a laboratory for exploring different methods of creating and storing usable energy that can be applied on a broad scale across commercial and residential structures.

That's all fine and dandy, and far be it from me to tell the owner how to spend his money. But green doesn't begin and end with energy consumption; resource conservation plays a part here too, and this behemoth is using enough concrete for hundreds of conventional-sized foundations.

Green consideration aside, I'm going to need some help understanding how a house this size makes any kind of sense. Especially at this historical moment, as thousands feel their 2,200 square feet of American Dream slip through their fingers. It reminds me of the similarly revolting phenomenon of competitive eating. Sure, a person can wolf down a year's supply of hot dogs in a matter of minutes. That doesn't mean one should. --B.D.S.




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