One of the items on my RV To-Do List this summer is to change out the standard incandescent light bulbs in our camper with LED replacements. I do this for a handful of reasons:
They’re cool to the touch.
They don’t attract mosquitoes (although some say otherwise).
All the cool kids are doing it.
LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) are considerably more energy efficient than normal bulbs and can significantly reduce the power demands on an RV battery bank. According to one RV LED manufacturer, an LED uses only 10% of the energy of an incandescent bulb and converts around 90% of the electricity that it does use into light – rather than heat – whereas a standard bulb converts only 15% of the electricity that it consumes into light.
Also, as a general rule of thumb, LEDs operate somewhere between 80-100 degrees F compared to the 200-degree F temperature of incandescent or halogen bulbs. A well manufactured LED bulb will last about 60,000 hours, compared to a 1003 incandescent bulb, which will last approximately 200 hours.
Finally, while today’s LEDs are somewhat costly, they now are available in numerous bulb configurations and a variety of colors including a warm “natural light.”
Converting to LEDs is just one thing we can do to make our RVs more environmentally friendly. But most of us are environmentally conscious to begin with.
RVers are generally more connected to the outdoors than non-RVers, and the very essence of RV camping – “waste not, want not” and “leave no trace” – is the epitome of reducing one’s “carbon footprint,” which can roughly be defined as the amount of negative impact one has on the earth.
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association – the folks behind the “Go RVing” marketing campaign – almost 20% of RVers say they use solar panels to power some of their on-board systems. In addition, a recent survey showed that more than two-thirds of RVers minimize water use on trips, almost half recycle more on RV vacations than on other types and nearly half turn off home utilities before they hit the road. Finally, 94% of all RVers travel with 2-7 people, meaning the vehicles get more people miles per gallon.
That said, there’s more we can do to even further make our RV, and our RV camping trip, more environmentally friendly.
- Keep RV and tow vehicle engines well-tuned to conserve energy and reduce emissions.
- Always use marked RV campsites so as not to damage natural habitats.
- Recycle as you travel at the campgrounds or through community programs. Take note of local recycling categories; they may be different from those followed at home.
- Minimize the use of disposable dishes, cups and utensils. As convenient as they seem, they create an abundance of trash. There are plenty of stylish alternatives that don’t contribute to the local landfills.
- Keep campfires small to minimize the amount of ash and pollution. Don’t put anything into the fire pit that will not burn.
- Observe fire rules, which may change daily with weather conditions.
- Use nontoxic cleaning supplies and tank additives.
- Where pets are permitted, keep them indoors or use a screw-in stake. Tying them to trees can damage fragile bark.
- Work with nature. In hot weather, use natural shade, awnings and canvas covers instead of the AC. In cold weather, park where the RV will be protected from north and west winds and warmed by sun exposure.
See you next week when we talk about “How to Wow your Guests when Camping.”
Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Great Lakes region. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the Gr8LakesCamper blog.