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

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate