Incorporating more eco-friendly practices and living more sustainably does not have to be complicated. These are our 10 tips for everyday life that help reduce our waste and environmental footprint.Read More →
We have been living in and out of our Ford E250 Econoline Cargo Van for the last 1 1/2 years and have done two long road-trips with the van so far. The first one from Florida to California and back and the second one from Florida to Maine and back. We love our van which is a 2011 model that came in good shape. We are still happy with the build and functionality of it and are already looking forward to our next trip!
When we converted the van we had only a few weeks to build it with limited resources and budget, all while working full time. The goal was to keep it as simple as possible while using Eco-Friendly material as much as possible and within our budget.
This is what we used for the build: *Note: we are not sponsored by any of the suppliers and we paid for all the appliances and materials.
Natural Sheep Wool for the walls, doors and as a filler in the ceiling. We are pretty impressed with how well the Sheep Wool has been keeping us warm, even with temperatures as low as 38F. For the floor insulation we used Traffic Master Underlayment as a thermal and moisture barrier (not Eco-Friendly, but we did not want to lose headroom and found this to be a quick option).
Wood Paneling, Kitchen Cabinet, Bed Frame and Storage
We re-used wood that we already had from previous constructions as much as possible for the kitchen. We re-used the whole bed frame and wooden drawer which we previously built for our truck camper. We did not find any recycled wood in the area and the palette wood we found had mold, so we bought new untreated pine wood panels for the wall and ceiling. After our first road trip we decided to re-built the kitchen part as the setup was not very practical. For the second kitchen build we used reclaimed wood that we found at The Repurpose Project in Gainesville.
We used Eco Advance as a wood treatment.
We decided to use Linoleum aka Marmoleum, which is naturally sourced from linseed oil, pine rosin, wood flour, cork, limestone, organic pigments and jute backing spun from renewable plants. We bought both the Sheep Wool and Linoleum flooring from Eco-Building Products. We have been very happy with the Linoleum and found it to be super easy to care for while being durable. There are no scratches after 1 1/2 years of vanlife despite countless times of pulling and pushing things across the floor.
We used a simple LED light strip with a dimmer that draws little power but illuminates the whole van more than enough. We also use solar powered Luci Lights for indoors and outdoors
Engel AC/DC Portable Tri-Voltage Fridge/Freezer – 43 Qt (super energy efficient)
We decided to go with the Maxx Air Fan Deluxe which is a great option as it can run even when it rains. The Installation of our Fan was done by Justice Kustomz in Tallahassee.
We are sustainably solar powered with a total of 300w solar panels. The Solar Install was done by Simpler Solar in Tallahassee.
Other Items we use in our Van
Our sink is a commercial steamer pan and we use a hand-pump for the faucet, a 5 gallon fresh-water tank and 5 gallon grey-water tank. Our mattress is a non-toxic Eco-Mattress. For a shower we use a simple outdoor solar shower.
To cook we use a camping stove with re-fillable propane bottles. We use stainless steel plates, cups and pots, a cast-iron skillet, bamboo ware, re-usable metal straws and coffee cups, glass jars for bulk-food storage, biodegradable soap and dishwashing liquid, biodegradable garbage bags and laundry detergent etc.
We bring re-usable fabric bags when grocery shopping and small reusable bags for veggies and fruits etc.
Our Favorite Eco-Friendly Vanlife and Full Time Travel Gear: https://wander.green/20-eco-friendly-van-life-gift-ideas/
Check out our 20 Favorite Eco-Friendly Vanlife Gifts: https://wander.green/20-eco-friendly-van-life-gift-ideas/
Our Favorite Dry Camping and Boondocking Gear: https://wander.green/dry-camping-gear-checklist
We are Eliane and Damian, two outdoor enthusiasts who became digital nomads and travel full time while working remotely and on location. We live and travel in our self-converted cargo van, sometimes we stay in our travel trailer, in a tent, in Airbnbs or Hotel rooms. We strive to live eco-friendly as possible and love to share our experience, journey and knowledge with you.
Wander Green – Eco Friendly Living, Travel, Technology and Food
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Interview with the owner of the World’s First Solar Greenhouse at Little River Flower Farm in Buxton, Maine. We were honored to have the opportunity to visit and learn about the solar technology used at this organic and sustainable farm. We interviewed owner Bruce Stedman about his 6,400 square foot solar greenhouse which was developed together with Maine Technology Institute and Maine Sustainable Agriculture over three years ago.
The greenhouse features flexible solar panels that have the dual function of generating green energy as well as cooling the greenhouse in the summer, making it economically and environmentally sustainable. The greenhouse was built with steel and pultruded fiber glass with flexible solar panels laminated onto the roof which provide a peak output of 14.4kW (1.2 mega watt per month), powering all pumps and fans and is a net-zero energy structure during the summer months.
The greenhouse incorporates 14 raised grow beds and a root zone radiant heat system powered by a biomass wood pellet boiler. This system uses heated water pipes that allow for precise temperature control to each individual raised bed with minimal excess heat loss.
Bruce explained how this greenhouse was built and also talks about their next project starting in 2020, a new prototype of sustainable greenhouse called the Growbox which will serve as a demonstration facility. The new structure can be moved and used for different purposes from growing, farming to offices and government buildings during crisis situations etc.
Owners Bruce and Nancy Stedman have been growing certified organic produce and flowers at their farm called Little River Flower Farm in Buxton, Maine for the past 20 years. Their solar greenhouse is used to grow organic food and flowers 365 days per year. The couple provides their locally grown food to surrounding grocery chains, markets and restaurants. Besides working on their farm, Nancy also leads their flower cutting and floral arrangement business and Bruce leads their landscaping business and together they built a beautiful tiny house which can be rented via Airbnb.
Please visit their website for more information:
Watch our video about their Airbnb here:
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Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is a non-profit educational, retreat center located in Rhinebeck, New York and houses the Omega Center for Sustainable Living. We had the honor to visit the Omega campus and speak to Chrissa Santoro, the Director of External Communications and talk about the many eco-friendly initiatives and holistic programs that Omega offers.
The interview was held at The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) which was opened in 2009 and was the first building ever to achieve both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certification—the highest environmental performance standards available.
The OCSL is an environmental education center and hosts a greenhouse and state-of-the art Eco-Machine™, a natural water reclamation facility that has reclaimed 45M gallons of wastewater during the last 10 years since it was opened. The Eco-Machine™ uses plants, bacteria, algae, snails, and fungi to turn Omega’s wastewater into clean water which is then used to restore the aquifer.
The majority of the building is built with reclaimed wood, and a small amount of the wood is sourced from FSC Certified Forests. The building uses geothermal technology for heating and cooling and utilizes 211 solar panels to generate 134.2 kw/day.
The center is designed to generate more electricity than it uses and in the last 10 years it saved a total of 867K pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
Omega’s campus has numerous additional eco-friendly initiatives to prevent waste and reduce its environmental impact that range from recycling, composting, conservation of resources, supporting sustainable agriculture and local businesses by offering farm-to-table meals that are locally sourced and mostly organically grown and powering 100% of campus electricity through the purchase of wind and solar power.
Besides the OCSL, Omega provides over 350 educational workshops and events annually that range from: body, mind, and spirit to creative expression, to leadership and work, health and healing, relationships and family, and sustainable living. Omega’s commitment to creating a climate for positive change extends beyond workshops and R&R retreats, through other key initiatives and programs including the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, work with Veterans that offers programs and scholarships for Veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, Yoga Service which brings yoga practice to underserved populations such as prisons, senior homes, and schools with at-risk youth, as well as programs that bring mindfulness practice to educational institutions and healthcare providers.
To learn more about the Omega Institute of Holistic Studies and the Omega Center for Sustainable Living please visit their website: https://www.eomega.org
Omega’s Social Media Channels:
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