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Old 04-02-2010, 11:25 PM   #1
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Question 'Green' 'Streaming

Is anyone out there doing their best to live "green?" We are re-doing our trailer right now, and we're trying to make wise decisions about what to put back in. Does anyone know of green/non-toxic alternatives for insulation, heating, refrigeration, cooling, interior surfaces, flooring, and so on . . . ?

Does anyone have experience using solar ovens, solar panels, homemade food dehydrators, sprouting setups, wind power, compost toilets, etc., in their AS? Looking for innovative/creative ideas. I know there are some really forward thinkers hiding out there. Come one, give it up, share your know-how with the rest of us.

Pictures would rock!

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Natasha
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Old 04-03-2010, 01:32 AM   #2
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Hi guys!

I don't know about all the items you asked about, but for insulation you could use the denim batting type that they use in homes (made from recycled denim), and flooring maybe bamboo (which has come down in price from what it used to be). Don't know what else to suggest, but I'm sure there are plenty of others out there who have gone this route.

Good luck, and be sure to post back about what materials ans systems you decide to use.

Mary
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Old 04-03-2010, 06:28 AM   #3
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No ideas here (total newbie) but I'm really interested in this info as well. We won't be renovating to that extent but definitely want solar and ideas on possible green modifications/upgrades. The idea is to try to balance the gas use in the TV with sustainable/green options in the Airstream. One of the things that really attracted me to fulltiming was that I'd be forced to be cognizant of my water/elec/etc usage and my trash/waste impact. In those ways I'll already be way more "green" than house living. Airstreaming hasn't stopped being "ahead of it's time" after all these years :-)

Great post!
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Old 04-03-2010, 11:38 AM   #4
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Natasha,

We are doing our best to live "green" and are always excited to hear about others experiences and ideas. While searching through the forums I found this:

The Eco-Discovery Tour-The Reconstruction

Not sure if that link will work, but I thought this redo was really great. Sounds like something you would also enjoy.

Take care,
Janette
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Old 04-03-2010, 12:15 PM   #5
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The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
Looking into LEED should point you in the right direction for green products.

breadbeckers.com is a good source for some of the smaller items you mentioned.
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Old 04-03-2010, 01:38 PM   #6
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Looks like somebody already posted a link to our website. You will find a ton of info there on solar, power, composting toilets, eco-friendly flooring and cabinet materials and much more! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Hope it helps!

The Flying Cloud Eco-Discovery Tour

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Old 04-04-2010, 10:34 AM   #7
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Here's an interesting review in the NYT on a book called Green Gone Bad.
Off the Shelf - ‘Green Gone Wrong’ - Can Capitalism Save the Planet? - Review - NYTimes.com

Quite frankly, I'm more concerned about what we'll tow our AS with after 2016 when the EPA calls for trucks that meet a 25 MPG average rule. At this point in time, I'm looking for a TV made before 1995 that can be registered as a classic. That's not to say that the Feds and the EPA won't change the rules mid stream and eliminate the "classic designation" and emissions exemptions.

I just sold a small cabin that had a 10 year old solar system, composting toilet and sun showers. All of this "green stuff" has been out there for years and it's really easy to find.
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Old 04-04-2010, 04:53 PM   #8
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Thumbs up Boondockers Chime in!

I am checking out all the links and suggestions you guys sent. Wow! I do realize many of these products have been around a while and are relatively easy to find (as one person pointed out). What I am really interested in is other Airstreamers who are living or are interested in living this way and their input on what works and doesn't in such a small, relatively lightweight, mobile space.

Yes, the tow vehicle problem mentioned is concerning. At this present moment, though, our Airstream is gutted. We are clueless and looking for answers, because we will be moving this baby in about 8 weeks!!! Obviously, we will not have the Mystery Ship finished by then, but we at least need a mobile, safe, weatherproofed area to sleep as we haul her away to another state to make her more acceptably live-able. We will have to think about the tow vehicle problem after that. Our country definitely has issues, but at least we can be agents of change.

Anyway, did I mention we will be full-timing in the Mystery Ship with our three young children? Oh yeah, it's gonna be an adventure!

We're looking to streamline and go beyond green to sustainable. We're not looking for expensive, high consumption "green" products. We're trying to re-think everything we do and learn where the things we use come from, how they affect others, and how we could do things differently to COST LESS and consume less and produce the least amount of waste possible.

I noticed most of you were on a similar or same page. I bet a bunch of the boondockers out there have at least a somewhat similar mindset. They seem to know how to conserve water and energy and how to think creatively for solutions - use what you have on hand. Any boondockers out there, please share.

I suppose this reply has gone on long enough, but do please, keep the thoughts coming. I'll try to post my thoughts on some of the links in a few more posts.

- Natasha
Happy today that I serve a risen Savior!
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:07 PM   #9
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Post Woolly



Great looking wool blankets and mattress toppers here: Made With O-Wool Fabrics
- not too expensive


Eco-Pure Wool Bedding Products | Chemical Free Wool Mattresses | the Wool Bed Company Surround Ewe Sleep Systems These sound great - a little cost prohibitive for us right now, but maybe we can save up. I wonder if we could make our own? I'm sure it wouldn't look as nice, but maybe it would work while we're saving. I also thought of having a leather-covered two-piece futon style couch/bed that we could use on the floor until we have a chance to build our framing. That way, the bed wouldn't get dirty being on the floor until then. Of course, we might have to skin our own animals to afford the leather.
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Old 04-04-2010, 07:47 PM   #10
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Post Green Flooring/Insulation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryw164 View Post

for insulation you could use the denim batting type that they use in homes (made from recycled denim), and flooring maybe bamboo (which has come down in price from what it used to be).
Mary
Hi Mary, I have seen the denim batting idea, and I really like that. However, seeing how nasty, wet, and rat infested our old fiberglass insulation was, I was wondering about the aluminum "bubble wrap" insulation. What do you think? I saw one of the full-timers overwintered in Montana (?) for a couple of years and used 3 or 4 layers of that, staying toasty warm in 30 BELOW ZERO weather!

I do love the bamboo. I've been researching cork as well, and it seems to be "cushiony," which appeals to me. Flying Cloud, how has it been for you guys? Do you like it so far? Is there any downside? Where did you guys get your flooring?

I would really love to be able to use bamboo for the walls and/or countertops.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:38 PM   #11
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If you don't mind me asking...are you planning to go off grid or a have a wild, extended, American, educational experience with your kids? Your style of living will dictate your up-fit amenities.
Home schooling?
We home school and participate in the NCFCA.org speech & debate association. Our Team Policy resolution since June 2009 has been:
Resolved: The United States Federal Government should significantly reform its environmental policy.
All research has lead to much frustration.

The only thing truly green about it is who gets subsidized at the expense of who doesn't.
Just one example:
Does it make sense to subsidize/rebate/pay homeowners to pull perfectly serviceable items off their homes and replace them w/ new "green" products from the lucky company that was in the pocket of the politicians and received the coveted "green" certification even though their product is no better than another company's? Then, the items that were pulled off while they were yet in perfectly good working order are added to an overtaxed landfill. What is green about that? All it proves is that we are a society driven by consumption.

With few exceptions, the greenest alternative is to use an item until it is no longer useful, like our ancestors did until only a few decades ago. The smallest items were saved, reused and re-purposed. Those with the hoarding gene were the true survivors just a few short generations ago. Now, the same trait is viewed as a psychological disorder because our consumer driven society has distorted these people into freaks who live in squalor.

We are moderate consumers. My husband is a commercial contractor so we live on creating new things for others to use. We also try to be responsible. We buy used vehicles. Our cars, motorcycles(when we have them) and RVs are used. My husband has our diesel GMC 2500 TV chipped so that it gets over 18-19mpg w/o load and 12-14mpg towing.
Our latest home was not built under any green plan but it would qualify for a fairly high certification due to the materials of choice.
Our pool house was built with a number of reclaimed materials. The standing seam metal roof was a mis-cut for a project my husband was building at the time. It could have landed in a landfill if we had not been working on this project. Why a landfill? Salvaging is a very expensive and time consuming endeavor for a contractor and it can blow a budget. Sad but true. Well, in this case God provided the exact roof I had wanted but couldn't afford.
Our porch columns are salvaged from a local university. The cabinets and plumbing fixtures came from a real estate building being converted into a bank. I chose to use our 20 year old refrigerator until it bites the dust before I buy a new one and add 30cf to a landfill. Our floor is stained concrete and we purchased a used pool table from a friend who had a fledgling ministry and was moving his mom into his game room. We used several salvaged windows.
Our pool is not green at all. A huge waste of water.

Just don't fret about it too much or the project will become a god and you will lose sight of what is really important. This special time with your family. Even if you pull the thing from to every corner of North America you will have a lower impact on the environment than those of us in planted homes. Keep it fun, not obsessive.

Just don't fall for buying carbon credit offsets. That is the biggest boondoggle out there. You pay money to create carbon that you would have created anyway to offset the lack of carbon that somebody else wasn't going to create anyway. What?
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:48 PM   #12
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Solar Panels

Welcome to AM Solar - Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987 I liked how this company specializes in solar for RVs. Their price has gone down, but it's still pricey for us for now. Do any of you green 'streamers have experience building your own solar panels? If so, have they worked well for you, or is it more worth the money to save up for a production line product?

I've heard solar panels have to be replaced fairly often. For the price . . .

Has anyone tried wind power in their Airstream? Are there other energy alternatives I am leaving out?

I've seen the gas powered appliances leak carbon monoxide - not too keen on that with three small children, even if it is "well-ventilated!"
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:21 PM   #13
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Question Composting Toilets

The information on Nature's Head Composting Toilets - The Ideal Marine Toilet for Your Power Boat, Sailing Vessel, or Houseboat was very interesting. This seems to be the best commercial compost toilet I have seen yet. A dirt cheap version is to use a 5 gallon bucket with toilet seat attached. This can even be enclosed in a wooden casing for aesthetic reasons.

A close friend of ours used this economical version in their RV - not an Airstream - and it was SUCH an improvement over their nasty, chemical-laden RV toilet! It smelled much better. The only aroma was of fresh wood chips.

What I am very curious about, Flying Cloud, is how do you find a place to unload your compost without encasing it in non-biodegradable plastic bags? We really want to go this route, but I still have that lurking, unanswered question haunting me. This was not a problem for our friends, because they had their own piece of land with a separate compost pile for humanure. On the road, this will not be an option open to us.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdturn2 View Post
Welcome to AM Solar - Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987 I liked how this company specializes in solar for RVs. Their price has gone down, but it's still pricey for us for now. Do any of you green 'streamers have experience building your own solar panels? If so, have they worked well for you, or is it more worth the money to save up for a production line product?

I've heard solar panels have to be replaced fairly often. For the price . . .

Has anyone tried wind power in their Airstream? Are there other energy alternatives I am leaving out?

I've seen the gas powered appliances leak carbon monoxide - not too keen on that with three small children, even if it is "well-ventilated!"
Yep, CO is not a nice gas. can't even smell it. Best is to install detectors. Ventilation does work though depending on the amount of CO produced.

Solar panels do not need frequent replacements and if you limit your electrical usage they should take you a long way. The roof surface of an AS is somehow limited though. We are getting an International 27 FB and a good chunk of the roof is used up by AC, vents and fans. Once we get our unit, I will start to really plan the solar set up, maybe with extra racks that open when docked. We won't need much as we don't use AC, at all, as well as no TV/tuners/Antennas...

Wind power could work but who would want to stay in a windy place? you need quite a bit of wind to make it worthwhile.

I am still researching "green" flooring at the moment and i am undecided between cork (i like the cushioning aspect too) and organic marine grade latex. I am still scratching my head as to how i will install it without having to remove all the cabinetry. If someone has done it, let me know.

btw, we plan to be full time as well. We homeschool our two sons. Hope to meet you guys one day.

Ciao
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