Green Living in an RV

Eco-friendly is probably not the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about the RV lifestyle. In fact, you might picture gas-guzzling motor homes and diesel trucks and think there is no way RVs can be “green.” Well, you have a point about fuel consumption, but I would like to point out five other ways that RV living might just be “greener” than you think

1. Less consumerism. We RVers have to be choosey about what comes into our space because space is so limited. I’ve found that having less space really inhibits the over-consumption that is typical in most households simple because here isn’t room to buy more and more stuff. It’s a pretty cool side-effect of tiny living.

2. Fewer chemicals. Again, there isn’t space in any RV for an arsenal of cleaning products or personal care items. I’ve found that there are some eco-friendly items that do double-duty by saving space and making the earth smile. My favorites are vinegar and baking soda. I use these two to clean just about everything in my home as well as in making my homemade shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and deodorant.

3. Less water usage. I’d venture a guess that we currently use half the amount of water we did in our apartment. The main reason is we have become aware of our usage because of our holding tanks. Our tanks can only hold so much waste water before needing to be dumped. It has really helped me think about how much water is going down the drain. Other ways RVs save water: no lawn to water, hand washing dishes uses less water, tiny showers make for quicker showers, and no washing machine means fewer loads of laundry (we honor the “wear it ’til it stinks” rule).

4. Less electricity usage. I don’t have any hard data on this one, but I think we use less electricity too. The typical house uses between 100-200 amps of power. Our RV pulls a max of 30 amps. Wow, that’s pretty cool! Also, we tend to keep our windows open because our rig has amazing airflow. We also rarely use our lights because we have several skylights and windows. Living in a small space also forces us outdoors more often, so we aren’t consuming much energy at all when we are not inside.

5. More nature. I have a theory that the more time you spend in nature, the more desire builds within you to care for and protect nature. I already see this happening with my kids. Since living in the RV, we spend most of our time outside. My kids love trying to identify bugs and birds, but they also love helping me pick up trash to keep the earth beautiful and safe for our animal friends. This is a pretty cool fringe benefit of RV living that I was not expecting.

At some point, we would love to add solar panels and a composting toilet to make our rig even more eco-friendly. For now, we are happy to find that we are using less and enjoying more.

Photo by: David O