Posted on by Amber Merton

Being Green in Your RV: Traveling More Sustainably - PlushBeds

Taking your RV on vacation has to be one of life’s most awesome experiences. The thrill of the open road and the adventures you can experience are something that is second to none.

Recreational vehicles come in two main categories – those that are towable and others which are motorized – and there’s a RV for every budget. But whether you choose a fifth wheel, pull-behind, or motorized motor home, vacationing in an RV can be very cost-effective. It’s no wonder that RVs are so popular in the United States.

In fact, U.S. RV ownership has also reached incredible levels. A 2011 study by the University of Michigan and commissioned by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association found that nearly 9 million households actually own an RV. Interestingly, more than 11 percent of these RV owners are in the 35-to-54 year old age bracket.

Traveling in an RV appeals to many of us. It’s a little like taking your home with you as you vacation. However, have you ever stopped to think about how traveling in your RV can be more environmentally friendly?

RV trips are actually far more eco-friendly than flying or driving vacations. A family of four, taking an RV vacation actually produces a lot less carbon dioxide than one using a plane, car, or hotel, reports the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

You may not have thought much about it, but RV trips are an earth-friendly way of getting away from it all.

These tips show how you can be even more eco-friendly when you’re on an RV trip.

So what are the eco-friendly benefits of an RV? GoRving, a site dedicated to all things RV, offers these insights.

Fuel efficiency.  Nowadays, RVs are built with lighter materials. Add this to the fact that their motors are far more fuel efficient in this day and age, too, and they actually rival the miles per gallon achieved by some pickups and large SUVs.

Aerodynamic.  Many modern RVs are designed to have incredibly sleek front ends, which help with wind resistance.

Lighter.  There are a variety of materials being used to create lighter RVs. These include renewable bamboo, aluminum, and fiberglass. All these materials make a difference in terms of tow weight and fuel efficiency.

More compact.  Modern RVs tend to be on the smaller and more compact side. This works well for RV owners as amenities are packed into a smaller space without losing any of the features.

Eco-friendliness.  Manufacturers are now understanding the need to be as “green” as possible in terms of making their RVs. They’re using energy-efficient LEDs, renewable woods, and green textiles to make their vehicles.

How You Can Help Green Your RV

There are plenty of actions you can take in order to make your RV greener. Take a look at these eco-friendly options to see how you can help.

  • Solar panels – Around 20 percent of RV owners already have solar panels installed, according to Go RVing, and it’s no wonder, by using a few solar panels, some say it’s possible to save up to 90 percent of your generator’s use.  It’s also far more convenient as you won’t need to use your generator when you pull up and park your RV for the night. Generators pollute the air, and are notoriously noisy, so solar panel usage really is a no brainer.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle – Always carry reusable containers when you’re on an RV vacation, and remember to keep using them if you can. If not, find a way to recycle your old stuff, and that will help reduce your carbon footprint. Many campsites nowadays have designated recycling areas, but if you can’t find one, keep a recycling box in your RV, and dispose of your old bottles and containers correctly when you get home.
  • Use a natural latex RV mattress. They are eco-friendly, and did you know that a supportive memory foam RV mattress free of harsh chemicals is also wonderful for getting a good night’s sleep? Always remember to choose an RV mattress that is GreenGuard Gold Certified as then you will know that you’re helping the environment in the best way possible.
  • Use LEDs – Rather than using regular bulbs or halogen bulbs in your RV, make the switch to eco-friendly LED lights. These have a longer lifespan than regular bulbs, and are also far more energy efficient!
  • Stop drinking bottled water – Bottled water is expensive, not to mention that the water is contained in plastic. Why not buy a decent water filter for your RV instead? This makes excellent sense in terms of your wallet and the environment.

What Else Can You Do to Make Your RV More Eco-Friendly?

  • Remember to always park in designated RV campsites so you minimize damage to natural habitats.
  • Ensure that you always keep your RV and tow engine as well tuned as possible in order to reduce emissions, and to help conserve as much energy as you can.
  • Keep any campfires small in order to reduce pollution.
  • During hot weather, rather than turning on the air conditioning, make use of screened windows and awnings instead.
  • During cold spells, park out of the way of the wind and in a well-lit and sunny spot.
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products and holding tank additives where you can.
  • Never tie your pets to trees as this can damage its bark (bark of the tree that is).
  • Rather than carrying heavy drinks, stock you RV pantry with concentrate and powders.
  • Think about using a pressure cooker, which will save you both fuel and money.
  • Rather than purchasing canned food, buy pouches instead as these will help to reduce container waste and they also weigh less too.

Vacationing in an RV can be incredibly eco-friendly, in spite of what you might have thought. It’s also one of America’s favorite ways to spend a vacation. The joy of getting up and going on a trip, hitting the open road just cannot be surpassed. RV-ers can visit places that planes just can’t take you to, and it’s awesome to visit all those little out-of-the-way spots you might not even have heard of before.

So if you are wanting to explore the U.S., and are aware of your carbon footprint, there has never been a better time to get out there in an RV. Just ensure you follow the tips above, and you’ll be sure to have a wonderful time knowing that you’re doing your bit to protect the environment.

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