We're already eco - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-18-2007, 09:26 PM   #1
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Hey, I have an idea: let's call them eco-trailers!

Like, we're all, "I COULD have a huge big Land-Yacht but CHOOSE not to, because I CARE about carbon emissions" and Global Warming and the melting of the Ice Caps and so forth.

I mean, it IS true. Doesn't matter that most of us fell in love with our little FGRVs before there was An Inconvenient Truth.

Let's examine the facts:

We care about the weight and the towing (re miles per gallon) possibly to save money, but we are also SAVING the PLANET.

We will travel only so far to pick up a new FGRV, but no further (like "food miles" or "the 100 mile diet"): excellent!

Boon-docking: we are (usually and mostly) capable of this, thus reducing the need for Full
Hook-Ups and all the Power requirements.

We recycle and re-use parts (especially in older trailers, we find what works and what fits).

Oliphant: a wonder-fabric that is STILL GOOD after all these years.

Community: We assist each other, which apparently is GOOD in may ways, for the Planet and for Us Humans.

Reducing Highway Congestion: We are doing OUR part, staying at home on the long weekend, but we are old Fuddy-Duddys, not wanting to deal with all the Off-Road Noise and Rock N I-Pod music.

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Old 05-18-2007, 11:31 PM   #2
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Charlynn,
Not to mention the fact that FGRV's save all that manufacturing energy (to produce new replacement RV's) due to the fiberglass' inherent longevity.
I'm not sure about other RV owners, but those who frequent this forum are, as a group, devoted to finding more and better ways to preserve and use their TT's and are willing to share their knowledge and expertise.
Definately a "green" group!

Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:38 PM   #3
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Eco-trailers. I love it. Trillium even made green ones.

Don't need big, long asphalt parking spaces in our campgrounds.

Solar power, wind cooling (open windows), very low emissions (except after the big pot-luck dinners)

Kathy
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Old 05-21-2007, 07:59 PM   #4
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Actually, there is a molded lightweight fiberglass trailer called an Eco...it's a Boler knockoff and we've got a couple of pictures of a GREEN one in the Albums: Eco in the albums!
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:01 PM   #5
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What you're saying is true . . . to a point. But let's not kid ourselves too much.

YES: Lynne and I can afford just about any size of RV and the fuel they consume, but decided on a fiberglass RV at least in part because towing a lightweight fiberglass trailer burns a lot less fuel than almost any other option out there. To further reduce our "carbon footprint" we paired our Scamp 5th wheel with a matching Ford Ranger pickup that can run on an E-85 biofuel blend so we can further reduce our gasoline consumption when we're not towing. We also hope Toyota (or some other auto maker) will offer a small hybrid pickup with enough "oomph" to tow our little fiver; that would further reduce our carbon footprint, too.

Continuing on the plus side, our 5th wheel is big by egg standards, but burns less than half the gas our neighbors do when they pull their trailers or drive their RVs around. Lynne and I also do other things to keep our "footprint" down; most days I ride the bus or bicycle instead of drive to school, and Lynne drives a fairly economical Toyota Corolla thst gets 36 MPG to where she works.

NO: Consider, however, the difference between driving our 36-mpg-Corolla versus riding my bike the six miles to school. Driving the Corolla consumes one pound of hydrocarbons (gasoline) and creates three pounds of carbon dioxide*, while me riding my bike consumes (at best) 20 grams (4/100ths of a pound) of hydrocarbons (fat) and emits slightly over one-tenth of a pound of carbon dioxide above what my normal metabolism does when I'm at rest. That's thirty times as much carbon dioxide per mile for driving a fairly efficient car as compared to my personal biological engine power.

So, yes, by choosing fiberglass RVs we are making a more ecologically viable choice as compared to larger RVs. Perhaps, when coupled with better commuting habits (like riding the bus), I'm approaching a sustainable carbon footprint. But the inconvenient truth of it all is that it's very, very hard to beat the carbon efficiency of the human engine, of the biological engine I was born with.

And it is those biological engines that our planet has evolved (or was designed, if you prefer) to sustain.

So, yes, I make smart commuting choices and pull a lightweight trailer and have Hybrid dreams, but I still worry that it's not enough.

--P

* Gasoline is made up of chains of carbon atoms paired with two hydrogen atoms; together with its hydrogens each carbon weighs about 14 atomic mass units (AMUs), twelve AMUs for the carbon atom and one AMU for each hydrogen atom. When combined with three oxygen atoms (at sixteen AMUs each) that carbon atom and it's two hydrogens make one 18 AMU molecule of water (H2O) and one 44 AMU carbon dioxide (CO2) molecule (44 AMUs from 12 AMUs for the single carbon and 32 AMUs for the two oxygens), slightly more than three times the weight of the original hydrocarbon.
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:19 PM   #6
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What you're saying is true . . . to a point. But let's not kid ourselves too much.
And, yes, I really am loads of fun on a camping trip.
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:34 PM   #7
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Consider, however, the difference between driving our 36-mpg-Corolla versus riding my bike the six miles to school.
Thanks, Peter, for your considered and thoughtful reply!

It's funny when you look at something as simple as a bike, the component parts. The steel needing coal in its production (the coal needing petroleum-powered machines to dig it and transport it) then the aluminum needing lots of electricity in its manufacture, and the rubber tires using energy and released carbon to be made and delivered to your local bike shop.

And the computers we're typing on needing cadinum and barium and what-all-ium, much of which needs to be dug up by big machines and refined with heat and power and what-not-all-ium!

Char
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:53 AM   #8
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I hadn't checked this thread for a couple of days... but it's fascinating sometimes how parallel thinking occurs on different sites simultaneously.

There's a thread going on at Airstream Forums regarding "Green" Airstreams... and eco-friendly RV-ing.

Here's the post there I just finished this morning:

Quote:
This is always a fascinating subject; and one that always gets folks' skivvies in a knot. What, exactly, does "green" mean? We, the trailering public have come to think of miles per gallon while towing as "green". What we typically don't think about, and has been nicely brought out here, is regarding the energy expended in manufacture of not only the trailers, but the raw materials... bauxite mining, plastics manufacture, logging and wood processing, the processing of various chemicals in the processes, and the electrical generation necessary for all of the processes, to run the factories and plants, and to actually assemble the trailers.

So, as far as the "gas mileage" thing goes, the amount of pollutants spewed by recreational vehicles in use is generally insignificant compared to the total hydrocarbon consumption of the planet on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, generally speaking, if we each tow less than 2,000 miles a year average, our extra fuel usage towing amounts to something typically less than ten to twenty gallons difference over our normal driving, presuming we would take the same trips even if we were not towing a trailer.

The bottom line, IMHO, is there is absolutely no way for a consumer to judge what is "green" (presuming the definition of "green" to be the least total negative impact on the environment possible), because there is no way to determine exactly how much energy and environmental damage was done per unit for any unit of manufacture.

The one constant though, is that presuming that all units have similar impact, the ones that last the longest before requiring replacement would be the most "green".

Roger
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Old 05-22-2007, 08:03 AM   #9
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Help!

Width all this concern about carbon dioxide reduction the plants won't have enough carbon dioxide to breath and will die. Then the world will be brown, not green.

So please do your part to produce your fair share of CO2.

Loren
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:11 AM   #10
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That's thirty times as much carbon dioxide per mile for driving a fairly efficient car as compared to my personal biological engine power.
A doctor wrote an interesting letter to the cycling column of my newspaper, pointing out that cycling may not be as 'green' as you'd think - cyclists, like all exercisers, will tend to live longer and the carbon footprint of those extra years may overcome the car-use savings. There's nothing like an early death for cutting your carbon emissions!

Quote:
It's funny when you look at something as simple as a bike, the component parts. The steel needing coal in its production (the coal needing petroleum-powered machines to dig it and transport it) then the aluminum needing lots of electricity in its manufacture, and the rubber tires using energy and released carbon to be made and delivered to your local bike shop.
A while ago I read a whole-life analysis of pedal cycles, suggesting that they're not that energy-efficiency. Though they use virtually no energy in use, they use plenty in manufacture as you point out. The critical question is how much use to they get? Some sources suggest that the [b]average total distance travelled in their life by all cycles is under 50 miles - remember, for each cycle being used, there are maybe ten sitting on a garage wall unused. And at a 50 mile lifespan, it's actually better to use an average car!

Clearly this doesn't apply to regular cyclists who will spread the manufacturing energy of their bicycle over a lot more miles. But it goes to show nothing is a simple as it seems.

Andrew
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:12 PM   #11
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Being fond of marketing and the power of words to create vision, I love the phrase eco-trailers and will use it hence forth!

Which reminds me that I just had to laugh when we were at the San Antonio Lake Rally and someone who had NOT seen the interior of our 17 ft. Burro 'dance hall edition' was being rather condenscending when he consoled us by saying it was a good entry level trailer.

I had to laugh because I've full-timed in a 30 footer for 3 years that did not have the interior spaciousness that our burro does. After seeing hundreds of different RV's and trailers, I rarely come across a unit that has the continuity of interior of space without running into a bulkhead that ours has while also housing a true king size bed!

Tish, our airdale Jude and I can all be standing up and moving around without bumping into each other and we literally can swing dance in there without crashing into the wall or counters while our dog lies reclining on her bed on the floor while watching us. As long as we don't step on her then she doesn't care what we do!

So we are definately not sacrificing in our litte eco-cottage on wheels and we are green. We tow with a Suburu Forester 4 cyl. that had no problem navigating a 3 week trek to British Columbia to Banff and a 3 week trek to Baja to Kayak the sea of cortez while getting between 20 and 23 miles per gallon towing and 25 miles a gallon not towing with AWD to get us out of the adventurous tight spots we have found ourselves in.

I can't think of another eco-trailer on the market that can get that kind of gas mileage when towed while having such a cavernous living space to and King size bed to frolick in.

I hear it mentioned time and again on these boards and others that people who choose eco-trailers spend much of their time outside of their trailers and cook outside, socialize outside...etc out of necessity.

And while I love the great outdoors when I'm in a crowded campground I would much rather cocoon inside the quiet of my serene eco-friendly Burro then be stuck outside in the cacophony.

We've run across people who in all seriousness have offered to trade their rigs for ours even when their rig was worth significantly more book value wise.

I dare say, I'll be happy with our eco-trailer probably longer than it will take for gas to reach $5.00 a gallon.

Celebrating choosing small,

Laurie
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:37 PM   #12
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(I dare say, I'll be happy with our eco-trailer probably longer than it will take for gas to reach $5.00 a gallon)
$5.445 a Cdn gal here now.It won't be long.
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