It's not easy being green. Just ask the Massachusetts politicians who are leading the charge for energy efficiency and environmental awareness.

It's not easy being green. Just ask the Massachusetts politicians who are leading the charge for energy efficiency and environmental awareness.

While Beacon Hill leaders have a host of policy and legislative solutions to make the Bay State more environmentally friendly, most refuse to reveal what they are doing in their own homes.  

Only Environment and Energy Secretary Ian Bowles, and Rep. James Marzilli, D-Arlington, responded in full to several questions from the MetroWest Daily News and the Patriot Ledger, although both declined to provide a recent copy of their utility bill.

Aides to Gov. Deval Patrick provided a brief statement detailing his use of a 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Compact Fluorescent Bulbs in his Milton home.

“The Governor and his family also designed their home in Richmond so that its architecture and orientation makes the house more energy efficient, such as capturing the sun for heating during the winter and allowing a natural current of air for cooling during the summer,” wrote Press Secretary Rebecca Deusser.

Bowles said he often walks or takes the bus to work from his Charlestown home.

Marzilli, who filed a host of energy bills this session, said he and his wife both drive Toyota Hybrids, use compact fluorescent bulbs, buy appliances with an Energy Star rating, and recycle nearly 100 percent of organic compost and recyclable material.

But after being given more than a week to respond, several of his colleagues in both the House and Senate either ignored the request or said they did not have time to answer the questions.  

Laura Wondolowski, director of the non-profit Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters, said she was not surprised by their reluctance.

“I think with the global warming crisis that we’re facing, we all need to pitch in, and government needs to set an example,” she said. “It’s a tough line between your personal life and your private life. The higher up you are in elected office, the more open your life becomes to the public.”

In an e-mailed statement, Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, called the questions “way off base,” although he was willing to give a general interview about his energy policies.

Sens. Susan Tucker, D-Andover, and Michael Morrissey, D-Quincy, who head the Joint Telecommunications, Utilities, & Energy Committee; Rep. Frank Smizik, D-Brookline, chairman of the Environment Committee; and Worcester Democrats Reps. John Binienda and Vincent Pedone also declined to respond.

“We need to pass policies that make it easier for citizens including legislators to be more energy efficient,” Wondolowski said. “I think they face some of the same financial constraints that we all do.”


List of questions

Please provide a copy of a recent electricity/utility bill What types of alternative energy do you use, if any? How? Do energy saving light bulbs make up all, some, or none of the bulbs in your home? If you use them, when did you start? What kind of car do you drive? Year, Make, Model How many miles do you drive per week? How much do you spend on gas? How often do you use public transportation? Why and what types? Please list anything else you do to conserve energy or offset your environmental impact.

Lindsey Parietti of The MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News can be reached at lpariett@cnc.com. Tom Benner of the Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.) contributed to this story.