If you’re an RV enthusiast, especially one who goes to the “boondocks,” “off the grid” or “dry camps” occasionally, chances are you already know a thing or two about going green. RVers are among the “greenest” of vacationers – using small, energy efficient transportation, cooking simple meals outdoors, minimizing water use, and eschewing energy-eating entertainment for quiet evenings of star gazing.
For all the low energy consumption, high voltage fun of RVing, there’s still more RVers can do to preserve the great outdoors for future generations.
Small changes – and a few bigger ones – can help you go green in your RV.
Replacing the incandescent and halogen lights in your RV is a task almost any do-it-yourselfer can tackle. An incandescent or halogen bulb will need about 60 watts of energy to produce 800 lumens – the measure of brightness – while an LED bulb will use 6 to 12 watts to produce the same level of brightness. While the savings add up to small change in a brick and mortar home, in your RV, switching to LED can significantly reduce the draw on the RV house batteries, helping them last longer while you’re off the grid.
If your RV is an older model, consider replacing the refrigerator. Older RV refrigerator models can be energy hogs that are quietly draining your battery power. Look for an energy-star rated, small residential refrigerator which operates with a more efficient compressor, a sea-worthy marine refrigerator, or even a solar powered refrigerator.
Sun, Wind and Water
RVs are natural sun seekers and the electrical system of an RV makes adding solar panels a natural. While maybe a solar system won’t answer all your energy needs, replacing or supplementing a gas generator makes energy – and lifestyle sense. Clean solar power is quieter and emission free. Going green with solar makes energy sense for nomads who like to get away from it all off the grid.
Consider harnessing wind power with a small wind turbine. While the technology isn’t as well developed as solar power, micro turbines, hoisted high above a boon-docked RV can generated a steady trickle of clean energy to an RV battery, reducing dependence on fossil fuel.
Most RVers – whether weekend warriors or full-timers — are natural water conservationists, but make your RV a little greener by installing low-flow faucets and shower heads. High-performance, low flow shower heads can use as little as a half-gallon of water a minute, reducing not only water consumption, but reducing the demand on the hot water heater.
Black water tanks, heavy chemical use and smelly dump station operations are all good reasons to consider switching from a standard flush toilet to a composting commode. Compact, light-weight, and easy to operate and maintain, composting toilets turn human waste into usable compost for non-edible plants.
Perhaps you’re haunted by visions of national park pit toilets and back-country vault toilets, but the reality of a composting toilet is completely different. Gaining in popularity from the Tiny House phenomenon, today’s composting toilets can be installed as a DIY project, are simple to operate and generate no smell. Composting toilets separate liquids and solids, which when combined create the nasty smell associated with outhouses, pits and vaults. Composting toilets use natural peat or coconut fiber for the decomposition process and can last up to two weeks before being dumped.
If you’re not up for a composting commode, consider switching from toxic chemical tank treatments to organic tank treatments that put fewer harmful chemicals into the environment.
Go Green Every Day
If replacing a refrigerator or commode seems like too much to tackle, small changes can go a long way toward going green in your RV. Take the message of reuse, reduce, recycle on the road to keep your travels green.
If you’ve recently replaced your pots and pans or dishes at home, don’t discard the old set – take them on the road as the official camping ware. If you’re new to RVing, there’s no need to stock up with “official” camping pots and pans and dishes; a broken-in set from home works just fine. While paper and plastic products may be convenient, reusing dishes and flatware is easier on the environment.
When settling into your RV site, park smart: position your RV to take advantage of afternoon shade whenever possible during hot summer and look for sun in the afternoon on cold winter days. Wise use of sun and shade can have a big impact on how much you call on your air conditioner and heater.
Be gas wise on your way, by making sure tires are fully inflated, and driving within the speed limit – and the limit of your vehicle.
When it’s time for a new RV, consider a Certified Green RV, produced by many of your favorite manufacturers such as Forest River, Coachman and Featherlite, all in stock at Crossroad Trailer Sales in Newfield, NJ. Certified Green RVs have met independent standards for energy efficiency, clean manufacturing processes, and environmental friendliness. The experts at Crossroads Trailer Sales who can help you choose a new greener RV model or help you upgrade your existing model.