Which Celebrity Mansion Could Offset the Most CO2 With Solar Panels?
Nothing screams celebrity status like a big old mansion that has more bathrooms than there are Harry Potter books. But just like private jet emissions, massive homes contribute to the outsized carbon footprint of the world’s rich and famous.
After all, heating and cooling a 10,000-square-foot home — not to mention powering multiple kitchens, water heaters, climate-controlled wine cellars, EV charging, pools and hot tubs, and god knows what else — requires a lot more electricity than the average 2,500 square foot home.
So, we put together a list of 10 celebrities who could massively reduce their carbon footprints by upgrading their mansion(s) with solar panels. Combined, these 10 celebrities could offset more than 10 million pounds — the mass of 25 full-grown blue whales — of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions and perhaps spark the latest celebrity housing trend: Solar Chic.
Click to jump to a section:
- Key takeaways
- Top 10 list
- Why should celebrities go solar?
- Methodology (how we arrived at these figures)
Before we dive in, let’s take a look at some key takeaways
We analyzed dozens of celebrity mansions to narrow the list down to the following ten. It’s almost certain that there are mansions with higher carbon footprints that we may have missed, but this at least provides a representative sample of the impact rooftop solar could have on some of the largest homes in the US.
Here are some key takeaways about the 10 celebrity mansions listed below.
Electricity-related CO2 emissions
Combined, the grid electricity used to power these 10 estates is tied to:
- Over 524,000 pounds of CO2 equivalent emissions per year
- 13.1 million pounds over the next 25 years
To put that in perspective, picture one adult and one juvenile blue whale appearing in the sky each year these mansions operate on grid electricity. Over 25 years, the carbon emissions add up to the mass of 44 full-grown blue whales.
Emissions offsets from solar
Powering these same 10 mansions with residential solar systems (rooftop or ground-mount) would be associated with:
- 100,000 pounds of annual CO2 emissions
- 2.6 million pounds over the next 25 years
Upgrading these homes to solar would keep 10.5 million pounds of CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere and local air supply — the mass of 35 full-grown blue whales.
Related reading: What is the Carbon Footprint of Solar Panels?
How many solar panels would offsetting 10 mansions require?
Based on our estimates, the 10 mansions mentioned below have a combined electricity consumption of 116,503 kWh per year. So, how many solar panels would it take to offset that grid electricity consumption?
Combined, these celebrities would need a 775 kW solar system located in sunny Los Angeles to offset their grid consumption. To build such a system would require:
- 1,938 premium solar panels rated at 400 Watts
- 38,589 square feet of roof space or land — which is almost exactly two-thirds the area of a football field
Speaking of football fields in Los Angeles, while covering the brand new (and see-through) roof of SoFi Stadium may not go over well, covering a small portion the massive parking lot surrounding SoFi certainly seems like a win-win scenario.
In fact, we’d only need to cover 121 of the 10,500 parking spaces surrounding SoFi Stadium to offset our celebrity mansion emissions.
Alright, now let’s see which celebrity mansion has the greatest opportunity to reduce carbon emissions.
#10: Kevin Costner’s Dunbar Ranch in Aspen, CO
Estimated emissions offset: 657,895 pounds of CO2 equivalents over 25 years
Kevin Costner’s Dunbar Ranch has scenic views, a baseball field, and A MASSIVE UNSHADED ROOF that is just begging for solar panels. Plus, he recently opened Dunbar Ranch up for rentals, so you know that electricity consumption is steady throughout the year.
With 5,800 square feet of living space, Dunbar Ranch isn’t quite the smallest home on our list, but the relatively high carbon intensity of Colorado’s gas- and coal-reliant grid makes for a prime opportunity to reduce emissions.
#9: Jeff Bezos’ Maui Mansion
Estimated emissions offset: 657,895 pounds of CO2 equivalents over 25 years
Jeff Bezos spent $78 million on his Hawaiian getaway in 2021 and could cover it with solar panels for roughly 1,300 times less than the sticker price. Hawaii has the highest carbon intensity of any state on our list (1.43 pounds of CO2 emission per kWh!) due to its heavy dependence on petroleum-fired generation.
Even with “only” 4,500 square feet of home to power, Bezos could offset prevent two blue whales’ worth of emissions from reaching the atmosphere by going solar.
#8: Ophrah Winfrey’s Montecito Mansion
Estimated emissions offset: 824,739 pounds of CO2 equivalents over 25 years
“You get a panel, you get a panel… EVERYBODY GETS A SOLAR PANEL!” Oprah may be finished giving away things to her audience, but her Montecito Mansion (at last check) is not done giving off over 44,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year.
The only thing saving her 28,000-square-foot mansion from a higher ranking on our list is California’s relatively clean electricity grid (0.36 pounds per kWh). With a rooftop solar system, she could prevent nearly three blue whale’s worth of emissions from polluting the air and warming the planet.
#7: Beyonce and Jay Z’s Bel-Air Mansion
Estimated emissions offset: 883,649 pounds of CO2 equivalents over 25 years
Bey and Jay’s $200 million purchase of their 30,000 square-foot Bel-Air mansion set a record for the most expensive home ever purchased in California. Give Cali’s clean grid and moderate coastal climate help to keep their annual household emissions just below 50,000 pounds of CO2 equivalents — but a solar system would be much more effective.
Given the home’s unique roof design, the Carters may need to get creative with a hybrid rooftop-ground mount system, but it’s worth the 883,649 pounds of emissions they could reduce over 25 years.
#6: Bill Gates’ Xanadu 2.0 in Washington State
Estimated emission offset: 969,681 pounds of CO2 equivalents over 25 years
Tucked in a hillside outside rainy Seattle, Bill Gates’ Xanadu 2.0 is an example of extremes when it comes to household carbon emissions. On one hand, Washington has one of the cleanest electricity grids in the US thanks to an abundance of hydroelectric power. On the other, Gates’ fortress features 66,000 square feet of living space, a 60-foot pool, and no fewer than six kitchens.
While Xanadu features environmentally-friendly architecture that reduces heating and cooling consumption, we estimate that Bill could offset nearly 970,000 pounds of carbon emissions — the mass of 3.2 blue whales — by covering his unique roof with solar panels.
#5: The Weeknd’s Bel-Air Mansion
Estimated emissions offset: 972,014 pounds of CO2 equivalents over 25 years
Clocking in a 33,000 square feet, The Weeknd’s Bel-Air Mansion is the third largest home on our list. Thanks to California’s clean grid and cool climate, his estimated annual electricity emissions are limited to just over 50,000 pounds.
Over 25 years, that adds up to 972,000 pounds of CO2 that he could offset by capturing the “Blinding Light” of the sun.
#4: Taylor Swift’s “High Watch” Seaside Manor
Estimated solar offset: 1,200,686 pounds of CO2 equivalents over 25 years
T-Swift is already catching slack for her private jet emissions, but it appears even the ultra-organized army of Swifties is overlooking the 1.3 million pounds of CO2 her seaside manor in Rhode Island is on track to emit over 25 years.
As mentioned in our methodology below, Rhode Island’s gas-dependent grid is one of the dirtiest in the US at exactly 1 pound of emissions per kWh. With a solar system on her perfectly shadeless roof, Taylor could prevent 1.2 million pounds (the mass of four blue whales!) of those emissions from reaching the atmosphere.
Bonus: “High Watch” is just one of eight properties in Taylor’s real estate portfolio. By upgrading five of her eight homes with rooftop solar panels, Taylor could offset over 3.5 million pounds of CO2 emissions (12 blue whales!) and spark a massive wave of rooftop solar adoption among her fanbase.
#3: Tiger Wood’s Jupiter Island Golf Getaway
Estimated emissions offset: 1,310,490 pounds of CO2 equivalents over 25 years
Tiger Woods made a living lowering his golf score and has plenty of sun and roof space to do the same with his household electricity emissions. Due to Florida’s hot climate and dirty electricity grid (.92 pounds of CO2 emissions per kWh), the Golf GOAT could reduce his annual household emissions by over 50,000 pounds per year and over 1.3 million pounds over 25 years (the mass of 4.4 blue whales!).
Pro-tip for Tiger: Go solar while Florida still has 1:1 net metering!
#2: Floyd Mayweather
Estimated emissions offset: 1,472,866 pounds of CO2 equivalents over 25 years
Floyd “Money” Mayweather is considered the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all time — if only he’d focus that energy on his carbon footprint. The estimated electricity consumption of his 10,853-square-foot mansion in Miami is tied to 65,000 pounds of CO2 emission per year, due to Florida’s hot climate and dirty utility grid.
While roof space appears to be at a premium, if Floyd offset his household consumption with solar panels he could KO nearly 1.5 million pounds of CO2 emissions over 25 years — roughly the weight of five adult blue whales.
#1: Spelling Manor
Estimated emissions offset: 1,649,478 pounds of CO2 equivalents over 25 years
Currently owned by Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz (who also owns the Edmonton Oilers NHL team), the 56,000 square foot Spelling Manor is rich with history and ripe for rooftop solar.
California’s moderate climate and clean grid (.36 pounds of emissions per kWh) help keep emissions at bay, but its sheer size contributes to an estimated 25,000 kWh per year of annual electricity consumption accounting for 88,000 pounds of CO2 emissions.
If Katz or its next owner (it’s currently listed for $155 million) were to offset the estate’s electricity with solar panels, they could keep 1.6 million pounds of CO2 equivalents from polluting the air and accelerating climate change. That’s equivalent to the mass of 5.5 adult blue whales.
That’s not to mention the many thousands of dollars to be saved by avoiding California’s notoriously high grid electricity prices…
It might feel like we’re picking on celebrities a bit with this article… and we are. Here are a few reasons why.
Mansion owners have the greatest opportunity for CO2 reductions. A November 2023 published by Oxfam International found that the wealthiest 1% of people contribute the same amount of emissions as the poorest 66% of humanity — some 5 billion people — which means celebrities can be incredibly effective in reducing carbon emissions, compared low- and middle-income households. There are also at least four other ways that rooftop solar benefits the environment.
Mansion owners can afford solar panels. The biggest barrier to home solar is often the upfront cost or access to financing. Based on the price tags of the mansions above, that’s simply not an issue for this crew. In fact, given their outsized electricity consumption and high utility rates (especially in California, Hawaii, and Rhode Island), celebrities stand to save the most by going solar.
Good PR in an era of climate consciousness. Let’s be real — every person on this list employs a person (or an entire team of people) to manage how they are viewed by the public. Making a sincere attempt to offset their outrageous household carbon emissions with solar panels would make for great press and positive social media buzz.
- “Oprah Makes Record-Setting Rooftop Solar Purchase”
- “Tiger’s Solar System is a Hole In One”
- “Taylor Swift’s Solar Fleet Expected to Offset 13.5 Million Pounds of Carbon Emissions”
The headlines write themselves.
Support local businesses. Celebrities have a reputation for being out of touch with everyday people — and the mansion certainly isn’t helping to ground that image. But hiring a local solar company to take on the massive project of covering that mansion in solar panels would be a great way to support local business and connect the community.
A high-profile job like this could make a local solar company’s year, bolster its marketing efforts, and give it the resources and confidence to grow.
Be a trendsetter! By simply appearing at a Kansas City Chiefs game to cheer on her new boyfriend, Taylor Swift drove up the sales of Travis Kelce jerseys nearly 400% overnight. Imagine Taylor going solar could do for the millions of millennials buying and settling into their forever homes.
Plus, one celebrity going solar could start an arms race among other celebrities as they try to one-up each other with the latest/greatest system!
Annual electricity consumption
The first thing we needed was an estimate of annual household (mansion-hold?) electricity consumption for each mansion — which is largely influenced by the square footage and local climate conditions of the home.
Since we don’t exactly have access to Tayor Swift’s electricity bills, we had to make some assumptions to calculate the energy consumption. To do this, we multiplied the square footage of the home by the average kilowatt-hours (kWh) of consumption per square foot of living space for comparable homes in that region, using the latest data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
For example, Taylor Swift’s Rhode Island home is listed at 12,000 square feet and homes with more than 3,000 feet in the Northeast use, on average, 4.4 kWh per square foot per year. So, that gives us an estimated annual electricity consumption of 52,800 kWh.
Carbon intensity of grid electricity
Next, we needed to identify the carbon intensity of the grid electricity powering the home — which varies greatly by state. For example, according to the EIA, Rhode Island’s grid is quite dirty since it generates over 90% of its electricity from natural gas while Washington State’s grid is quite clean since it generates around 75% from hydroelectric.
So, we took the electricity generation breakdown from the EIA for each state in June 2023 and assigned each source a carbon intensity value as reported by the IPCC in the graph below. This gave us an estimated carbon intensity per kWh of household consumption. Multiply emissions per kWh by annual electricity consumption and WALLAH! you have annual emissions.
Note, the values below are lifecycle CO2 equivalent emissions per kWh of electricity generated and are inclusive of everything from mining to construction to maintenance to end of life.
To get the emissions offset of rooftop solar, we multiplied the annual household electricity emissions by 25 years — the standard warranty period for residential solar systems — and subtracted the emissions that would be generated by a rooftop solar system offsetting 100% of the household’s consumptions.
Finally, we converted the mass of offset emissions from grams into pounds, and pounds into the number of adult blue whales (300,000 pounds) to provide a visualization of scale of emissions that could be reduced.