I am posting this after a request by McCain. Those of you that saw it on one of my comments below – NO CHEATING! Also, thanks to an unnamed friend of mine who originally sent an email to me about this.

FIRST HOUSE:

The 10,000 sq. ft. mansion in the suburbs of a large midwestern city consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the local utility.

While the average household in America consumes about 10,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy, in 2006, this mansion used nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average, with an average monthly electric bill topping nearly $1,400. Natural gas bills for the mansion and guest house averaged over $1,000 per month last year.
In total, the combined electricity and natural gas bills for the estate came to around $30,000 in 2006.

First house article here.

SECOND HOUSE:

The house is located on a southwest prairie and is a 10,000 ft² honey-colored native limestone single-level home. Over half of that area is from a 10 foot (3 m) wide limestone porch that encircles the house. The house was built by members of a nearby religious community. The limestone was quarried very near the location of the house. The pieces used are left-over pieces from other cuttings, making an environmental statement about conserving resources. “They cut the top and bottom of it off because nobody really wants it,” [the designer] says. “So we bought all this throwaway stone. It’s fabulous. It’s got great color and it is relatively inexpensive.”

Both the main house and the guest house use geothermal energy for their heating and cooling and require 25% less energy usage than a conventional heating and cooling system. The main residence, including the kitchen, dining room, and living room/family room use a two-speed, 6-ton water-source heat pump designed to handle up to 75 guests. The [owner’s] office, master bedroom, and bathroom use a 3-ton water-source heat pump. The guest house uses a separate 2.5-ton unit. These heat pumps circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet (100 m) deep in the ground. Underground, the water remains a constant 67 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that pure water can be used without the use of antifreeze.

The passive solar house is positioned to absorb winter sunlight, warming the interior walkways and walls of the residence. A 40,000 US gallon (151 m³) underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof urns; wastewater from sinks, toilets, and showers cascades into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is then used to irrigate the landscaping around the four-bedroom home.

The final design takes maximum advantage of the breeze by being long and narrow – most of the house is only one room wide. The house is surrounded by a porch, which shades the house from direct sun in the summer and provides a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors.

Second House info here.

The first house belongs to Al Gore and is located near Nashville, Tennessee, and the second house is President George Bush’s home in Crawford Texas.

According to the utility company, Gore paid $432 for 108 blocks of “green power,” which comes from solar or renewable energy sources. He has also recently installed solar panels on the home, after a delay due to local zoning regulations. Gore also owns homes in Carthage, Tenn., and in the Washington area.

***Update***

Check out Susan’s take on this issue on her blog from South Carolina: Our Little Corner of the Upstate

Thank you Susan for your contribution and your cross reference to our blog!