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Old 09-30-2019, 10:20 AM   #1
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Best ways to make your skoolie eco-friendly?

I'm currently looking to convert a shuttle bus (Ford E-450) into my new home on wheels when I graduate college! My senior project is creating the most environmentally conscious bus conversion. I'm looking into vegtable oil for fuel, solar panels, using a compost toilet, and staying in locations for a couple months at a time. Do you have any other alternative energy ideas or ways to be more eco-friendly? What have you done to offset your carbon footprint from traveling? I appreciate any and all feedback. Thank you!
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Old 09-30-2019, 12:57 PM   #2
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Our bus was my gf's college senior project. We ran lots of rough estimations on carbon footprints yada yada yada. The biggest pollution source is your diesel fuel from driving.

Passive rain collection /solar heating is a cool idea for eco-friendly. Greenhouse or vegtable garden. Farmers market for grocery shopping. Haveing a moped or bike as a run about vehicle. Using salvage/ recycled material in the build help.


After building our bus for like 3 years now... I can comfortably say that the whole build process is not friendly to the environment... Working outdoors/in a driveway all the grinding dust, metal flakes, fiberglass insulation scraps, plastic package that tools come in, earplugs, paint, adhesives, solvents that inevitably don't make it into the garbage ends up in the enviornment. Not to mention all the electricity to run your tools etc.

I bet if you were able to capture the enviormental cost of converting a bus DIY, it might be about as bad on the enviorment as purchasing/building a new motorhome.

Just a thought.

You can check out our site for my gf's thesis paper. 5speedhouse.com
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Old 10-01-2019, 08:23 AM   #3
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Where are you from?

You could use the argument that a tank or two of fuel to move down south is far more environmentally friendly than heating a home over a northern winter.
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:11 AM   #4
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Where are you from?

You could use the argument that a tank or two of fuel to move down south is far more environmentally friendly than heating a home over a northern winter.
That's an interesting question. It seems like those diesel air heaters burn something like ten to fifteen gallons a week at full blast (? I'm not really sure about that), so a bad four-month winter would burn 200 to 250 gallons or so, which would be enough gas to get you anywhere in the country, pretty much.

10 to 15 gallons a week for four months seems pretty extreme, though, unless you're way north. For most other places, I would guess the diesel consumption of an air heater over a winter would be a lot less.
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:39 AM   #5
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Yes, the specifics would matter. Michigan to Tennessee would be a shortish distance but very different heating needs.

But Tennessee to Florida which is about the same distance wouldn’t pay off.
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Old 10-01-2019, 04:04 PM   #6
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After googling, 5+ gallons a day sounds more reasonable than 15 gallons a week.
I don’t have experience with heating oil though.
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Old 10-01-2019, 04:49 PM   #7
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Im converting my engine to dual fuel, Diesel and CNG.

It would reduce the carbon, since CNG is more hydrogen rich per BTU output than diesel.
It also would reduce particulate matter in the exhaust, also Natural Gas is more plentiful and less harmful to extract than crude oil which has to be refined into diesel.

Downsides include cost of the conversion, additional weight and space of the dual 27 gallon tanks I have, and potential engine destruction if I do it wrong.

I have some background in EFI and engine tuning so I hope to avoid the running issues associated with the conversion.

Between the diesel tank and the CNG tanks, completely full I estimate 1400 miles of range, or if I omit using the CNG to drive and use it just for my stove and water heater I could heat 5500 gallons of water from 60f to 140 ( assuming average quoted 60% water heater efficiency ) or I could run both my cook stove burners on max power for 700 hours.



Consider CNG if you have the room for the tanks and think you can DIY without blowing yourself up.
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Old 10-01-2019, 08:55 PM   #8
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Thank you to everyone for responding! I do live in Wisconsin, so going south for the winter would greatly reduce my gas use.
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Old 10-01-2019, 08:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rochey6957 View Post
Our bus was my gf's college senior project. We ran lots of rough estimations on carbon footprints yada yada yada. The biggest pollution source is your diesel fuel from driving.

Passive rain collection /solar heating is a cool idea for eco-friendly. Greenhouse or vegtable garden. Farmers market for grocery shopping. Haveing a moped or bike as a run about vehicle. Using salvage/ recycled material in the build help.


After building our bus for like 3 years now... I can comfortably say that the whole build process is not friendly to the environment... Working outdoors/in a driveway all the grinding dust, metal flakes, fiberglass insulation scraps, plastic package that tools come in, earplugs, paint, adhesives, solvents that inevitably don't make it into the garbage ends up in the enviornment. Not to mention all the electricity to run your tools etc.

I bet if you were able to capture the enviormental cost of converting a bus DIY, it might be about as bad on the enviorment as purchasing/building a new motorhome.

Just a thought.

You can check out our site for my gf's thesis paper. 5speedhouse.com
Thank you so much your information and the blog has been really helpful! The diesel was my biggest concern, but Iíll have to look into the building impact more for sure. I guess thatís pretty hard to avoid unfortunately. Maybe if itís in a garage with proper ventilation and I reuse tools there would be less waste and chances for chemicals and shavings to go into the ground! Either way youíre right, there will be some serious environmental impacts from building it. Have you finished your bus now??
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jsneeb View Post
Im converting my engine to dual fuel, Diesel and CNG.

It would reduce the carbon, since CNG is more hydrogen rich per BTU output than diesel.
It also would reduce particulate matter in the exhaust, also Natural Gas is more plentiful and less harmful to extract than crude oil which has to be refined into diesel.

Downsides include cost of the conversion, additional weight and space of the dual 27 gallon tanks I have, and potential engine destruction if I do it wrong.

I have some background in EFI and engine tuning so I hope to avoid the running issues associated with the conversion.

Between the diesel tank and the CNG tanks, completely full I estimate 1400 miles of range, or if I omit using the CNG to drive and use it just for my stove and water heater I could heat 5500 gallons of water from 60f to 140 ( assuming average quoted 60% water heater efficiency ) or I could run both my cook stove burners on max power for 700 hours.



Consider CNG if you have the room for the tanks and think you can DIY without blowing yourself up.
Ope I might blow myself up - But maybe I can hire someone else to do it. How much are you expecting this conversion to cost?
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:20 PM   #11
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After googling, 5+ gallons a day sounds more reasonable than 15 gallons a week.
I donít have experience with heating oil though.
The stuff I've read seems to suggest a fuel consumption rate of .12 to .24 liters per hour, which is about 0.75 to 1.5 gallons per day, or 5 to 10 gallons a week. 5+ gallons a day would be something like $500 a month for heat, obviously prohibitive.
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