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

WHAT:
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

WHAT:
Recycled denim treated with boric acid is safer than fiberglass.

 

Begley: I had denim first.

Windows 2.0

WHAT:
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

WHAT:
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

WHAT:
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

WHAT:
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

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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