First of all let me just say that I love that this project has stirred some interesting conversation and passions on ExPo. If we do nothing else but get people thinking about how Expeditioning can be more environmentally friendly, then already we’ve accomplished something…
That being said, I thought maybe I should finally chime in on the whole “eco” thing so that the nay-sayers out there at least know where we’re coming from.
FACT: A diesel powered big expedition rig is going to add pollution and CO2 to the world.
That is just a fact and I don’t think that there is anyone on this site who can deny that. However, we really want to take a round-the-world trip and do it in an ExPo type rig. As we strated getting in to the project though we started feeling guilty about the impact that it was potentially going to have.
At this point it’s worth noting that no matter how bad the truck ever actually is, it will never belch out even a fraction of the CO2 that I am responsible for from the almost million miles that I fly on commercial flights travelling for work every year. If you want to call me a hypocrite for anything, it’s that.
The point is though, that it’s not black or white. “Not flying” or “riding a farting donkey” are not the only ways to help the environment. (though I did love the Thetford donkey idea!) If you just REDUCE the impact that you are having then you are a part of the solution. Yes, you are also still a part of the problem, but at least you’re doing LESS HARM than if you didn’t think about it at all.
FACT: we are going to build a rig and drive it around the world.
I think that trying to do that with as little impact as possible is a positive thing, rather than not caring about any of the environmental issues and just building it blindly.
What makes this build different, such that we can call it “eco friendly”?
1 – We are trying to use zero-plywood.
The RV industry uses millions of board-feet of plywood every year and that has a big impact on the forests, etc. Instead, we’re using a composite material for the sub-floor and sustainable bamboo for all the cabinetry.
2 – We are skinning it with Alucobond
Many of the rigs we looked at use FRP or Gelcoat for the outerskin of the camper. These use some pretty nasty resins that not only smell bad but create some not nice chemicals in their production. We chose the Alucobond composite material which not only looks cool, but it’s made from 80% recycled materials.
3 – Sustainable materials inside
The camper floor and countertops are both from LEED certified materials because they are either from recycled materials or sustainable sources. (The counters are made from waste paper laminated into a super hard counter)
4 – Solar not diesel
We’re putting almost 2KW of solar panels on the roof, and almost 1,000lbs of batteries under the floor. Yes, we will use more diesel carrying those around, but I think they will save us from running the diesel generator as much as we would have otherwise.
5 – Carbon Offsetting
We are calculating the CO2 that the truck is going to generate in our travels, as well as the manufacturing process, and we’re donating enough money to tree planting, solar farms, etc. to offset an equivalent amount. Does that mean that we won’t still be belching it out? No – but at least we’re going to try and replace what we take out.
So you see, I clearly agree that the MOST “eco-friendly” thing to do would be not to go. But if you agreed with that route, then none of us would be on this forum. Therefore, if you ARE going to go, then the question becomes: “How do we reduce the impact of going?” The Eco-Roamer is a practical exploration of that question.
It’s like the “Tread Lightly” campaign that we’ve all seen off-roading. Sure, it could just say “Don’t go” but that would be no fun. So instead, let’s try and find a balance and “go” but do it with care.
Here endeth the lecture… I promise more cool pictures of the truck next time!