All the Ways You Can Make Your RV Green
From packing reusable cutlery to swapping in energy efficient appliances, here are all the ways your rig can make friends with the environment.
To be clear, this article on how to make a green RV is not going to be about RV painting tips. We are talking about going green or choosing renewable resources and environmentally friendly appliances for your recreational vehicle today. From deciding whether or not it makes sense to install solar panels on the roof to choosing the type of gasoline you put in your tank, you get to make a lot of choices as an RV owner. So let’s investigate a few choices you can make to make your RV green!
Upgrade The Lighting
This is arguably one of the easiest ways to make your RV green and more energy efficient. Replace those traditional light bulbs with LEDs. Traditional bulbs consume more power and also let off more heat. Not only will they drain your battery if you aren’t plugged in, but they will incentivize you to run your air conditioner more. By installing LEDs, you will be able to run both your lights and your cooling system more efficiently.
If you have an older rig, you may find that the old bulbs you pull out have funny-looking ends that don’t screw in like the bulbs in your house. Replacement LEDs that fit in those receptacles can be harder to find at a standard hardware store. Fortunately, Camping World offers plenty of LEDs for RV applications. If you are doing a complete lighting overhaul, you can also consider an option like this LED light strip kit.
Install Low-Flow Faucets
Your RV’s water consumption is a major player in its energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. In many ways, the amount of water you use while RVing is going to depend on your habits. However, you can encourage yourself to be more water-conscious by installing low-flow faucets and showerheads.
The cool part about the newer faucets and showerheads for this application is that you don’t have to sacrifice water pressure. For your shower, for example, this Oxygenics showerhead is one of the most efficient and yet still powerful options out there. For your sinks, a pull-down faucet allows you to clean up more quickly without using an excessive amount of water in the process.
Supplement with Solar Energy
Yes, we mentioned it at the start, but solar panels (and the accompanying batteries you will need for energy storage) can significantly decrease your reliance on “the grid.” Fortunately, you don’t even need to go for a fully permanent, roof-mounted solar installation right off the bat.
You can go with a set of portable solar panels with a battery bank for power storage. By plugging in electronics and other small appliances to that battery instead of running them off your RV’s internal battery, you will save money and also be able to boondock for longer periods of time.
Replace Your Old Toilet with a Composting Toilet
For understandable reasons, the idea of a composting toilet is a big jump for many RVers. Even if you don’t enjoy cleaning out your grey and black water tanks every few days, just the idea of learning how to clean out a composting toilet can be intimidating.
If you eat a mostly organic diet, however, a composting toilet is much greener than a traditional RV toilet. Your waste will naturally break down and, once you master the process, you may even find that it is easier and cleaner than dumping your black water tank.
Upgrade to More Energy-Efficient Appliances
If you have a newer RV, you probably already have more energy-efficient appliances inside. For older rigs, however, it could be time for an upgrade. While your air conditioning unit is the most energy-intensive appliance in your RV, it can be more budget-friendly to replace smaller appliances first. Things like your microwave and ceiling fans are much easier and cheaper to replace to make your RV run greener.
The purpose of adding insulation to your RV is to slow down heat transfer. In the summer, this will allow you to run your RV air conditioning unit less because your rig will trap the cool air inside more effectively.
The opposite will be true during the winter months when your RV will be able to retain heat more effectively. So, adding insulation to your rig is a win-win no matter which season you do most of your RVing in.
If you don’t want to go through the process of adding a bunch of reflective insulation to your walls, floors, and windows, your next best option is to add window shades and accent rugs (especially if your RV is built with laminate or hardwood flooring).
Get On A Regular Maintenance Schedule
Making your RV green requires regularly changing the oil, replacing the filter, and performing other routine maintenance tasks. These tasks will allow your RV to run as cleanly and efficiently as possible. The less frequently you maintain your RV’s engine, the dirtier (and less environmentally friendly) it will run.
When I was a kid RVing with my parents, paper plates and plastic silverware were our kitchenware of choice. Over the years, they have slowly transitioned away from paper and plastic products. Much to my delight, their RV is now fully stocked with reusable kitchenware. Paper and plastic products are convenient and you deserve a relaxing camping experience, but if you want to make your RV green, you will need to steer clear or single-use products and reduce the amount of waste you produce during your trips.
Buy Certain Things in Bulk (Shop Local For The Rest)
One of the things I love about traveling to new places is stopping in local grocery stores. If I am really lucky, I can roll into town on the same day as the local farmer’s market and buy some local produce directly from farmers and proprietors.
I know, however, that some of the things you need in your RV (i.e. toilet paper, soap, etc.) make more sense to purchase in bulk. Get in the habit of doing a bulk buy at the start of your RV trips and then supplementing with local goods from your travel destinations.
At the end of the day, most of these choices are elective. You can decide how environmentally friendly you want your RV to be. Fortunately, there are more and more green alternatives out there for us to choose from these days and, thus, more and more ways for you to make your RV green and energy-efficient.