Today I did some back-of-napkin math comparing carbon impact of RV life versus sticks-and-bricks life. I also found tons of really helpful details on Where-RV-Now?, which others will likely find more useful than what I’ve written here.
- I didn’t know trucks have worse CO₂ emissions per passenger-mile than jet airliners.*
- Add the trailer and it’s about twice as bad.
- Replacement tires add a lot more to the carbon footprint than they would for an urban commuter.
- A Class C motorhome (the kind with a van cab and a bed over the cab) towing a small car might have been smarter in hindsight.
* This changes if you have a big family in a heavy-duty diesel truck. I’m not going to put Athena’s paws on the scale to make this look better.
- No commuting!
- RVers tend to use less day-to-day energy than traditional households.
- Any energy I avoid getting from the grid, be it from propane, a cheap generator, or an expensive solar rig, emits far less CO₂ than Colorado’s majority-coal grid.
- Most of my appliances can run off of propane. (The propane heater also needs some electricity for the blower fan.) The only obvious consumption monster is the air conditioner.
- I currently can charge all my gadgets except my laptop off of solar, and the next laptop will be able to charge off solar via USB-C.
It looks like I’m on target for a significantly lower overall carbon footprint unless I’m moving locations all the time. Again, this is back-of-napkin, and my qualified engineer friends will know a zillion inefficiencies that complicate this.
Also, the napkin is made from hemp.