With many older RVs managing a mere 8 miles per gallon, frequent driving in your motorhome could impact negatively on the environment¹. However, if you live in one full time, you are avoiding the greenhouse gases caused by living in a large house. Therefore, an RV can be part of an environmentally friendly lifestyle, as long as you know how to care for your vehicle in the greenest way possible. Follow the tips below to maintain your RV, allowing it to last a lifetime while causing minimal environmental damage.
It can be tempting to bring everything with you on your camping trip, considering the ample storage space an RV offers, but you really only need the essentials². The lighter your load is, the less gas will be required to get you to your destination. It will also put less strain on the tires and mechanical components of the vehicle. This ultimately means more MPG and a longer lifespan.
Chemicals in everyday household products are a major cause of indoor air pollution³. Since your RV is essentially a home, it will contain much of the same household cleaners and paint, which can be full of toxins. Take time to replace any chemical-containing products with a natural alternative.
You can make your own cheap, non-toxic cleaner using baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide⁴. This will work just as effectively at maintaining the counter tops, without polluting the air. Keep doors and windows open during the day for extra ventilation to allow pollutants to disperse.
Use a carwash
Handwashing is the preferred method of cleaning for many people. It is cheaper and also seems to be environmentally friendly. However, it can cause more damage than you’d think. As you wash oil and gasoline off the RV, it will travel straight into the drain and contaminate the water. Professional car washing services, conversely, are required by federal law to send water to sewage treatment centers where it can be cleaned before it comes into contact with nature⁵.
Get regular checkups
Just like you don’t wait until your tooth hurts to visit the dentist, don’t let your RV’s warning lights come on before you get it checked over by a mechanic. This will not only increase the lifespan of your RV, but also ensure that it causes minimal environmental damage when it is running. Regularly tuning your vehicle can improve fuel efficiency by up to 4%⁶. Keep everything in top working order to reduce the energy required to keep your vehicle moving.
There are many ways in which downsizing to an RV can be a green and sustainable way to live. The tips above are a good start, but there are plenty more steps you can take towards eco-living. Switching to a more economical biofuel is one idea, as is installing solar panels. It really depends on your available time and budget, but the tips above are simple techniques that everyone should take to ensure green RVing.
1) Linda Baker, The Green RV, November 2008, Accessed June 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/travel/escapes/07RV.html
2) Mike Napier, RV Kitchen Essentials: What To Bring, What Not To Bring, March 2018, Accessed June 2018, https://kempoo.com/rv/kitchen-essentials/
3) US Environmental Protection Agency, Introduction to Indoor Air Quality, January 2018, Accessed June 2018, https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality
4) Madeleine Somerville, How To Green Your Home: Make Your Own Cleaning Spray For Every Task, November 2015, Accessed June 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/nov/10/green-home-make-your-own-all-purpose-cleaner
5) Frederic Beaudry, Eco-Friendly Car Washing, August 2017, Accessed June 2018, https://www.thoughtco.com/eco-friendly-car-washing-1203931
6) Nicole D’Alessandro, 8 Ways to Spring Into Better Gas Mileage, April 2014, Accessed June 2018. https://www.ecowatch.com/8-ways-to-spring-into-better-gas-mileage-1881890416.html