Green RVs - The Perfect Renewable Energy Home!
The Truth About The Environmental Efficiency Of An RV For The Environmentally Conscious!
By Brian Gore
An RV is THE home for 'Earth Conscious', responsible people! I'm aware of the common preconception of wastefulness they're saddled with. I'd also submit; that preconception is misguided. The truth is, I don't believe that the average American could live more environmentally conscious, than with what is 'built in' to the RV lifestyle.
Take a minute and think about it. The RV is the perfect pack it in - pack it out accommodation for an extended trip to the woods. Not to mention the perfect home for an environmentalist.
It's compact, efficient; use of space, combined with its Solar Power system, (assuming you install one!) consumes far less fossil fuel than even the smallest brick and mortar home.
On top of that, being an RVer, I am focused, by the limited fresh and waste water capacity of the rig, on minimizing my consumption of precious water, thereby also reducing the production of waste water to be dealt with.
I can't see how anyone wanting to minimize their impact on the planet could do better than boondocking in an RV! Heck, even when I'm 'hooked up' to regular systems, my conservative, boondocking ways carry over and we consume less. Habits learned from Rving carry over into the rest of my living. Environmentally conscious behavior in action!
I'm always on the lookout for new, easier, cheaper, simpler, ways. Cheaper generally means I'm NOT buying something. Not buying something, means I have less packaging to throw away... Less space taken up in land fills, less energy and resources to produce the packaging... less energy and pollution to transport the product... etc.
Another, side-benefit is that I've finally found a way for my naturally, lazy, ways to be profitable! Not having to buy something means I don't have to do the work, to produce the income, buying 'it' would have required. Less work suits me just fine! Just means more time to enjoy livin'!
Living in an RV, with its limited storage and cargo capacity, you have an enforced 'cap' on the amount of 'stuff' you can posses. Anything you add in to the rig requires that something else be taken out. The end result is a more thoughtful and conservative consumer!
The limitations of the RV lifestyle spill over and improve the world outside of RVing. We plant an environmentally conscious seed... and we move on!
Even the relatively low fuel mileage I get moving the trailer is factored into my thinking. Our camps are generally set for days at a time. Many days the truck never even gets fired up. Zero fuel burned. Unlike at the brick and mortar home; which requires five days a week of slavery, driving to and from work. When we do move camp, we don't go that awful far, and then we, again, stay put for a few days. We travel, slowly, enjoying the improved fuel consumption.
End result... lower total fuel consumption.
If you use a rig for your living quarters, in town, and you're not even moving it... even less fuel consumption! Not to mention the huge reduction you can make in your monthly 'rent'.
All told, our net energy consumption is far smaller. Our 'sticks and bricks' house, burns two hundred dollars worth of propane, per month, in the winter; another seventy five in electricity. Our fifth wheel trailer consumes less than 1/2 of that propane, and that's in the winter. Come summer and that gas consumption plummets even lower.
My electricity comes to me now from the sun, totally eliminating that expense... Free... once the solar power system was paid for anyway. The 'brick and mortar' house required the burning of fossil fuel to power the electric generators down at the utility company... and thousands of miles of power lines to maintain and mar the view.
So... my RV's Solar power system, not only conserves fuel and eliminates the resulting pollution, it saves me in the long run, the cost of $4 a gallon (and rising) fuel to power a generator. A 'little', up front investment, and that hassle is gone!
I habitually do a 'Navy' shower routine. Between the two of us combined, my wife and I, we don't consume thirty gallons of water a day, usually far less (15+-). Compare that to the national average of over 50 gallons a day, per person! Usually far higher than that!
Some might go on to call them campers. To which I reply: "When you haul a microwave, computer and refrigerator, along with the television, stereo, couch, shower, queen size bed and dinette to the mountains; supported by your own private, 'solar power company'; all the accoutrements an American requires, you can call it: a road trip, you can call it going to the mountains, or even RV Boondocking... but you can't call it camping!" :-)
Finally, consider the amount of resources required to build the rig in the first place... Hmmm... the house is 2900 square feet... our fifth wheel trailer about 230 square feet. Want to make any bets on which made less of an impact on the planet to construct?
Are RVs wasteful and inefficient? I say: "Not likely!" To my mind, they are the best use of available resources, while allowing a person a lower cost of living, which will free up the time for them to pursue... living!... While being Environmentally Conscious at the same time!
My advice? Move into an RV! Enjoy life and save a whale! and maybe a couple of trees.
Brian is the "editor" of Goin' RV Boondocking, a website dedicated to the full-time, dry camping lifestyle. After a couple decades of RVing he has learned a few things the hard way!