Ecogeek Deathmatch: Ed Begley Jr. v. Bill Nye, Science Guy

Which Hollywood do-gooder has the greener crib? A no-holds-barred fight to the furnished.

Ed Begley Jr.’s solar-powered, rainwater-recycling house was the greenest in his Studio City neighborhood—until his friend Bill Nye, the erstwhile science guy, vowed to outdo him. A rundown of the competition:

Ed Begley, Jr. Bill Nye
Bill Nye Ed Begley, Jr.

Rainwater Collection Barrels

Use water for plants.

Nye: Ed’s barrels look funny; they’re big and red. Mine match my house.

I’ll believe it when I see it. No, wait. I’ll believe it when I don’t see it.

Begley: I’m going to get an underground cistern. It’ll be totally invisible.

Blue-Jean Insulation

Recycled denim treated with boric acid is safer than fiberglass.


Begley: I had denim first.

Windows 2.0

Double panes keep houses warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Nye: The guy who did my windows told me Ed hadn’t done all his windows. I did them all.

Begley: I started retrofitting my windows in the ’90s—and with heating and air costs, I made my money back years ago.

Patio Pergola

A canopy made of sustainably harvested lumber and recycled plastic insulates Nye’s patio.


Begley: I covet Bill’s pergola. I just have a piece of lawn furniture from the ’90s.

Solar Panels

PVs on the roof

Nye: The reason I have only four kilowatts is my neighbor’s sycamore tree, which provides cooling. And by the way, Ed, why don’t you clean up all those cables under your solar panels?

Begley: I have 6.5 kilowatts of solar. Bill has maybe two or three [actually four]. I applaud his effort for trying so hard and still ending up second best.

Smart Lawn

Both Begley and Nye have backyard vegetable gardens,
which Nye says has saved him a lot of water.

Nye: He also has an area of plastic grass. Why don’t you just pave it?

Begley: Bill has a lawn in his front yard. I just have fruit trees.

Parting Shots

Nye: I love you, man. Let’s change the world.

Begley: I’m going to crush you, Nye.


> Read the full interview with Bill Nye