If you have been dreaming about moving into a smaller and more ecologically sound housing project and you live below 40 degrees latitude, you may want to consider moving into an RV. You will probably be surprised that RVs come with many of the ecological/sustainable options that stick homes pay dearly for in terms of redesign and installations.
- RVs are much smaller than regular houses, the layout is very cleverly thought out, and storage space is much more efficient with things being stored inside the furniture, and much of the furniture converting into other furniture. For instance, our “kitchen/living rooms” contains a dinette and a couch which both convert into beds which can sleep 4 persons.
- RVs tend to have separate 12V systems so if you plan to go solar it is very easy as you already have two different runs of wires. The main problem is installing the panels on the roof.
- RVs have whole-house fans which given their small volume can easily cool the entire RV with outside air. AC and heaters are also fairly small and very fast due to the small volume. 12V swamp coolers are also available.
- RVs already come with separate grey water systems, so if you want to use the grey water for your garden, that is a possibility. The plumbing usually meshes with the black water but that is easily fixed by which I mean that even I could reroute it.
- RVs have a manually controlled hot water heater which you can switch on and off depending on when you need water unlike a house where the heater is on constantly. As a result very little gas is used.
- RVs have suspension. This is always nice to have in case of an Earth quake. Also, if the hills are on fire, you have the option of driving away.
- RVs have their own internal water tank, propane tanks, and limited electricity. If the utilities go down, you are not out.
- RVs have large windows which can be used for passive solar gain in the winter (just think of how warm a car gets in the sun if you don’t put up reflective mirrors). If you want your front windows to gain more solar energy in the winter, simple rotate your vehicle. Try that with a house 😛 .
- Used RVs are fairly cheap compared to houses. (New RVs are not).
On the downside, insulation is fairly poor and difficult to improve. Also major renovations are required to install, say, a composting toilet although I believe that would be a distinct possibility that could be accommodated by simply changing the form of the black tank so it could be evacuated with a shovel.
Originally posted 2009-04-19 02:33:13.