One of my newest heroes plays with Orangutans. In addition to being an advocate for 'higher primates,' Amory Lovins is one of the foremost energy experts and renewable energy advocates in the country -- he's written several visionary books and founded the Rocky Mountain Institute, which I recommend everyone have a look at online. There are some amazing things happening at this place.
Lovins house near Carbondale, Colorado is also an amazing example of the possible. I just parked the 'trekker there for a few days to visit my latest business partner and 'brother in bio' Nash Evans, who is the in-house contractor at RMI. The house is 4,000 square feet and has an average utility bill of $5 a month. It's an earth bermed building with an indoor greenhouse that acts as a passive solar heater. It also has several enormous solar PV arrays, and solar thermal hot water heating. There's an indoor stream and koi pond (with turtle!) a hot tub, an enormous energy efficient fridge, etc. Basically, it's the kind of house I've been building in my mind for several years now. It's also got a 500-year life span. I did get some photos, which I'll be posting soon, but the house is being remodeled, so it doesn't look quite as beautiful as it will in a year.
Lovins' residence also serves as an office for RMI employees, and will soon re-open to the public for tours. It's a huge inspiration, and I'd recommend it (and all of Lovins' work) to anyone who is looking for an example of uplifiting human progress.