When you first see the title to this article, you may immediately think that it was intended as an oxymoron, but nothing could be further from the truth. The RV lifestyle is indeed greener than most of our brick and mortar lifestyle choices.
This may be a bit difficult to comprehend when one thinks of the amount of fuel that is required to move an RV around, but let me give you the information, and you can make up your own mind about the subject.
First of all the biggest non renewable resource that an RV uses is fuel. It is true that many large RV’s only get about ten miles to the gallon, but many pickup truck and trailer combinations get as high as twenty miles to the gallon.
Consider the vehicle you are now driving. In most cases this vehicle will get about twenty to thirty miles to the gallon, and you are driving it to and from work everyday, as well as using it for shopping, entertainment, and travel. When you start to look at the amount of fuel that you use in this vehicle, and then compare it to the RV which spends most of its time parked, you will begin to see what I mean. Many full time RV’ers will only move long distances a few times a year. Usually following the sun. Many of them will only do a couple of very long trips in their RV’ing lifetime, usually to some place like Alaska or Mexico. But on the average an RV’er will only put on a few thousand miles in a year. This will work out to a few hundred gallons of fuel. Consider how much fuel you use in your current vehicle. Even a small commute of a total fifty miles per day in a vehicle that gets twenty five miles to the gallon will use 400 gallons per year just for commuting, never mind all the other trips that are made.
Next if you consider the amount of electricity, natural gas, water, and other consumables that you use in a fixed home and compare that to the amount that an RV uses, you will begin to see that the RV lifestyle is definitely a greener lifestyle.
Many newer homes today are wired for up to 200 amp service at 220 volts. That equates to 44,000 watts of power. It would take a sixty three horse power generator running at full power to supply that amount of power. Now one would rarely ever use this full capacity, but an electric hot water heater, a dryer, and an electric stove all running simultaneously could push power consumption close to 100 amps. Heating and cooling a large house over the course of a year takes huge amounts of energy.
An RV is usually wired for either 30 or 50 amps at 110 volts. This is a maximum of 5,500 watts. In most cases this is plenty for anything you would want to run in an RV. Many RV’ers also move north in the summer time and south in the winter time, thereby reducing the amount of energy required for heating and cooling.
In water use the RV is king. In our RV we have a 90 gallon water tank. This is enough to last my wife and I for up to a week including showers if we are careful. Even if we are hooked up in an RV park, I would estimate that we would not use much more than 20 or 30 gallons per day. I cannot even begin to estimate how much water an average home goes through, but if just the toilet is flushed ten times a day, that is fifty gallons per day. I have heard estimates of up to 400 gallons per home per day in North America.
The only other non renewable resource that an RV uses is propane. In our RV we use an external 30 pound propane tank. I get this filled about six to eight times per year, for a total usage of less than 250 pounds. An avid back yard barbecuer would give me a run for my money on the propane use front.
Another area where a fixed home would require a proportionatly greater amount of resources would be in the area of cleaning supplies, paint, and related chemicals.
Last on the list would be raw materials to build a house and yard, compared to the raw materials to build an RV. This is an area where I could not even hazard a guess. But when you look at the amount of energy, raw material and non renewable resources that are saved in other areas of the Full Time RV Lifestyle, you will see that the RV Lifestyle is definitely the greener lifestyle.
So if living a greener lifestyle is important to you, consider the Full Time RV Lifestyle. It is a great lifestyle with a fantastic fraternity of people. You may be doing yourself and the environment a big favor.
Will Imanse is the author of the book Full Time in an RV. He has lived in an RV for over ten years. He was regularly questioned about the RV lifestyle. After repeatedly answering the same questions over and over, he started to search for a book he could recommend to potential Full Time RV’ers.
After realizing that there was no single book available that would answer all the questions that he was fielding, he decided to write a book of his own, drawing on his own and other Full Time RV’ers information.
The resulting work has had compliments from many people including Mike and Terry Church of Mexican Camping fame.