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Old 09-27-2007, 06:11 PM   #1
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Lightbulb My green airstream- What to do?

Hello fellow travelers,
I am in the process of gutting my 1957 overlander and am trying to stay as environmentally friendly as possible. I am going to redo the entire flooring, insulate, paint the inside,redo electrical,solar panels, battery backup, buff, polish.........

Does anyone have experience. I tried searching the forum but found little besides info on solar panel installation. Right now I am looking into green plywood, bamboo flooring, cotton insulation, led lighting, full solar. does anyne have a prime example for me?

As I take things apart inside I am trying to save as much of the original parts. Does anyone have any use for original parts that are in decent condition?

Has anyone ever installed radiant floor heating in there airstream? A friend and I contenplated it but relized it would be dificult with current floor to frame spacing. Anyhow I thought I would put up a post and see what all the experts had to say.
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:17 PM   #2
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Yes, absolutely! Recycling is always a good thing. Don't throw anything away...there are always people looking for bits & pieces - even things you might think of as junk! The best way is to take a picture of what you have and offer it up for sale (or haul it away, pay for shipping, whatever) in the classifieds here onsite or ebay to attract a larger audience on well sought after pricier items.

Sounds like you are headed in the right direction with your green materials list...good luck in whatever you decide to do!

I will be keeping an eye out for all your "goodies" looking for a new home...I'll put 1st dibs in on any of those closet/cabinet latches with the black or white plastic knobs - if you have any spares.

Shari
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:22 PM   #3
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I know of another member who was working on a radiant heat floor, but I don't think the project was ever finished. You should find posts on bamboo flooring, insulation, LEDs, and solar easily. I haven't heard of anyone using cotton for insulation. How will that work when it gets wet?

Good luck, and be sure to keep us posted. I'm sure you'll soon be the green 'expert' here with all the plans you've got. There have been a lot of members doing pieces of it here and there. It should be interesting to see what you find out.
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:34 PM   #4
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1957? Did they have vinyl asbestos tile (VAT) then? I believe so. Work clean; work careful.

Welcome to the Forums!
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:51 PM   #5
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What shade of green?

Airmillie,

Glad to have you on the forum and welcome.

I am almost an architect. My thesis back a couple years ago was about a "green" house. I too am interested in redesigning the interior of my trailer to be green. It sounds like you have put some thought into this, but how green do you want it to be. What aspects of green are you trying to obtain? I got tired of seeing buildings and homes in magazines touting their green design when all they had done outside of the mainstream building practices was put a solar water heater in the plumbing system. So the purpose of my thesis was to prove or see how far I could take it. I really wanted to see if I could build a completely self sustaining house. I didn't and I am not sure if it is possible, but I am going to make another run at it with my '49 Spartan Mansion. This is especially interesting to me since I plan on plenty of non-hookup type camping.

My meandering long awaited point is that people have different ideas of what green is or simply what is important to them as pertaining to green design. If you haven't already it would be a good idea to prioritize your objectives and interests.

I have three interests actually four when you count weight savings. One as I already mentioned is self sufficiency and the other has to do with indoor air quality. Using non-off-gassing materials is important to me because I am fairly alllergic to chemicals. Another aspect that is not as important for me but still on my list of goals is to do some of what you are talking about with the use of recycled materials and or "low environmental impact" materials such as bamboo.

I am still doing my research (interior materials) right now. I also have no experience with rv's, yet. I am however willing to share any knowledge I have and also always looking for info myself.

For now I can offer this...
The green plwood I am assuming you want for the sake of eliminating formaldehyde emissions. It is more expensive than the usual stuff and you can find local suppliers throught the internet or calls to lumber suppliers. It will work structurally the same as the regular stuff. If you are using it in the sub-floor you will also find there are alternatives to using plywood that are also weight saving. Although I haven't found any that are cost effective. Composite panels whether aluminum or some form of plastic usually run around $150 a 4x8 sheet. i am currently researching availability and feasability of using soy based plastic panels.

If you want the plywood for cabinetry you also have alternatives to choose from. i am considering aluminum right now for its weight saving aspects. It does however eat a tremendous amount of energy to produce or recycle so is considered detrimental to outdoor air quality. The flip side as most here will mention (a lot of aluminum lovers here) is that aluminum is less likely to corrode and disintegrate. Once something is made from it like an Airstream it is worth more and less likely to be scrapped, therefore making it "reusable".

I am also considering using bamboo flooring. Take a look at it and you will find there are different thicknesses. i would stay with the thin stuff for reasons of weight and cost. Whats the point of having a thick floor when the floor strength is obtained with the sub-floor? I am also considering floor materials that could be used as the sub-floor and finish floor. Eliminating a layer of material could cut cost and impact as well as weight!

Cotton insulation is good for the off-gassing too, but I saw a website (that I cannot remember right now) where a persoon? or company was rebuilding trailers with low interior emissions. He used sheeps wool because it would not burn and it deterred mold growth when it got wet (in case of leaks). The cotton will not. I also suspect the wool will have a longer life.

The solar I haven't looked into except for houses. There are several threads on this site that deal with this issue. It of course will come down to how much electricity you will use versus how much you deem to be affordable and possible to install. It certainly can be done and I will have it at some point.

The led lighting has also been discussed quite a bit here. I don't know much about it yet except that some people are using it and are happy with it. My take is you are always doing yourself a favor with as low a voltage light system as you can get.

Feel free to PM me if you have anything else you need to know. I probably won't have any better info than I hasve given you but I can probably point you in a direction to find out.

Brent
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:11 PM   #6
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If you look up composite panels, a member on here did put down an entire new floor with them. He had to add structural support, I think until it was supported every foot, because the 3/4 panels had more flex than 3/4 plywood. I looked into doing that on my own floor replacement but went with marine plywood for simplicity's sake.
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:35 PM   #7
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I'm also a Graduate Architect and my only concern with bamboo as a floor is the weight. If you go with the thinner bamboo laminate flooring, I would be concerned if it has an MDF backing. If it does, it will not stand up particularly well to moisture. This may or may not be an issue for you, depending on your climate. I can speak from experience that laminates deteriorate quickly when frequently exposed to wet dogs and wet feet. An excellent alternative to the bamboo would be real linoleum, such as Marmoleum by Farbo. Cork would be another option.
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Old 09-28-2007, 03:14 PM   #8
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When we made an addition onto our home we had it built green. We used recycled denim blue jeans as the insulation. We had quite a few local builders come take a look when it arrived. It was great, unlike fiberglass, you could easily install it without goggles, gloves, etc. Someone must have left a five dollar bill in their pocket when they sent off their blue jeans to charity (where I am assuming most of the raw materials come from) because there was a shredded fiver mixed into one of the sections.
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Old 09-28-2007, 07:08 PM   #9
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Too add to the green debate or desire ,there are suppliers that offer recycled carpet ,they take old carpets and grind it up clean and strip away dirt and
other particulates and reweave new recycled carpet out of the fibers .same with plastics ,recycled into new plastic items ,sheeting etc. rubber tires also
recycled shredded and remade into useful things ,it goes on and on .Here in SB
Ca we recycle all our trash as much as possible ,including metals ,automotive
parts ,oil and auto filters ,computers .so being green can be as easy as buying products already recycled from other sources .I cannot agree with
the aluminum /energy waste ideas and some of that stuff ,because it doesn't
always pay in the end .aluminum is constantly recycled and can be reused
melted down many times ,its light weight (AKA AIRSTREAM TRAILERS) and
saves fuel costs towing . you can help the economy and save resources by
buying already recycled goods .One little side note about these great new
light bulbs we all have seen lately ,they contain mercury ,in any form its
deadly ,why would you have it in a gas type form in your home ,how about the landfill and if they are broken on your floor .yes its a tiny amount ,so is everything till you have a few hundred million of them out there in homes .

Scott of scottanlily
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Old 09-28-2007, 07:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirMillie
Has anyone ever installed radiant floor heating in there airstream? A friend and I contenplated it but relized it would be dificult with current floor to frame spacing. Anyhow I thought I would put up a post and see what all the experts had to say.
I considered radiant heating when I redid my floors this spring. I like the idea, but honestly, it is just way to expensive (at least for me). I also had some concern about how the system would hold up with extensive tow-related movement.
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:37 PM   #11
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Electronics goldmine has some surplus heating assembiles originally built for space vehicle heating that are pretty cool, that may be able to fit under your flooring if you glue or staple it right, and are electronically savvy.(3" x 20" Triangle Heating Element-The Electronic Goldmine) also there is a company that makes a staple-able radient floor heating setup, it is quite pricey though, and I believe only works off 120v Electricity(supposedly no emf's though).
Cheers, Peace and Happy Trails!
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:40 PM   #12
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Green? So much for the baby seal fur slip covers...

JUST KIDDING!
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobfowler
Green? So much for the baby seal fur slip covers...

JUST KIDDING!
Well, they are a renewable resource!
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:00 PM   #14
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Radiant heat

Check out Home Depot for resistance radiant floor heating system. It's installed under tile or bamboo flooring. It doesn't appear too complicated at all and you can figure out how much you need to do the job.
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