eco-friendly palace?

Here’s something to ponder: is an eco-friendly palace an oxymoron? From The Register:

The Prince of Wales has been given the green light to build an eco-friendly house, rumoured to be a “starter home” for Prince William once he gets married.

In a more functional than palatial move, a 200-litre rainwater reservoir will collect and recycle rainwater to the house. The house will even have an eco-friendly reed bed sewage system.

The house has been scaled down from its original 14,885 sq ft to 8,500 sq ft to make it more energy efficient but the occupants will still live in splendour. There are six reception rooms downstairs and six bedrooms upstairs five of which are en suite.

Low energy and water saving appliances will be fitted everywhere, whilst three large recycling bins will make the best use of waste and, according to a sustainability report, make “recycling and composting easy for the occupants”.

The report, by Dr Gail Kenton, of the BP Institute in Cambridge, gives the house a “very good” rating according to the Eco Homes 2006 criteria. It misses out on an “excellent” rating predominantly because of its remote location.

So… yeah. On the one hand, it’s a model of how a large residence can be made more sustainable by combining available building techniques. On the other hand, it’s an 8500-square-foot palace, not to mention the entirely new construction in a rural area. Built for royals, no less. Hrmph.