Tag Archives: eco-friendly

Radiosity 3000 – Radiant Heat Barrier for The COMET

So you probably have heard that white roofs are good for green building: white reflects the sun’s heat and keeps the building cool in the summer, reducing AC costs and energy use. In addition to painting the roof (and most of the exterior, except for a few colorful graphics) with white no-VOC paint, I will be using a product called Radiosity 3000 as a radiant heat barrier to keep The COMET cool in hot temperatures.

As you can probably imagine, a little aluminum box like the camper basically turns into an oven in the heat. My solar system won’t allow me to use air conditioning (I also don’t have the space for an air conditioner, and don’t particularly like them in general) so I was looking for a solution to keeping the COMET cool in the summer. The people at Green Building Supply suggested Radiosity 3000, and I think it’s going to end up being the perfect thing.

Radiosity 3000 is a radiant heat barrier that comes in powder form and mixes right in with interior or exterior paint. It has no effect on the paint’s color or performance, as it is just very fine glass. Here’s an excerpt from the Green Building Supply website:

“Radiosity 3000 is a paint additive that creates a radiant heat barrier on roofs, ceilings and walls to greatly reduce cooling costs. It can also be used in interior applications to reflect and trap warm, radiant heat from fireplaces, stoves or in-floor heating systems. Radiosity 3000 contributes significantly to the thermal comfort levels in both summer and winter months while it reduces energy usage.”

Basically, I am going to mix the Radiosity 3000 in with the exterior paint, and paint the entire COMET with it to keep it cool in the summer. On the interior, I will mix it with the interior paint to keep heat in when it is cooler outside. I’ll have a double heat barrier!

Pretty cool!


Tomorrow I’m going to start demolition in The COMET: tear out the rotted wood in the walls, take out the old water tank, clean it up inside, and get a real sense of what needs to be replaced guts-wise. We’ll see what’s hiding behind those soft spots in the walls, so expect some gruesome photos tomorrow!

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Thank You Green Building Supply!

I want to give a huge Thank You to Green Building Supply, an eco-friendly home and building center, for making an incredibly generous contribution to The COMET project. I found Green Building Supply while I was researching and pricing out sustainable building materials, and knew they would be great people to work with. Their website is comprehensive and informative, and their staff is friendly and SO helpful. I told them what I was doing with The COMET, and they were happy to help me figure out which green flooring, paint, and other products would be a good fit for the project. Green Building Supply has the best selection and best prices of any eco-friendly home place that I came across in my research. I also love Green Building Supply for going beyond the “sustainable products” for interior finishes and having a commitment to energy efficiency and sustainable systems as well. They have composting toilets, air and water filtration systems, energy efficiency items, and everything else you could imagine, in addition to eco-friendly flooring, countertops, paints, and more. Check out their website to see everything they have to offer. I highly recommend them as a resource for your next green building project.

Thank you Green Building Supply for your kind contribution to The COMET, which includes Marmoleum Click Classic flooring, UltraTouch Denim insulation, AFM SafeCoat primer (no VOC), a bunch of paint and caulk (also no-VOC), and Radiosity 3000 radiant heat barrier.


Also, check out the new page I just added, up at the top of the website, titled “Events + Appearances”, to see where you can find The COMET in the next few months. I’ll be adding Tiny House Summer Camp (with Deek Diedricksen, July 6-9, go to relaxshacks.com for more info)  details and the full roster later, as soon as it is announced. I’ll also add the Brattleboro, VT KOA vintage camper and tiny house event (July 21-22) so keep an eye out for it! And if you have a vintage camper that you would like to display at the rally in Brattleboro on July 21-22, then please contact me! Vintage campers get a discounted rate at the campground.


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Tour De (HFH) ReStore

In congruence with my idea about using as many re-used, recycled, and repurposed materials as possible in The COMET before purchasing newly manufactured eco-products, I have decided to visit every Habitat For Humanity ReStore (PLUS the magnificent EcoBuilding Bargains store) in Massachusetts in search of materials. I’m calling it the Tour de ReStore and it began today! I went to the HFH ReStore in West Roxbury. Though I didn’t find anything I could use in the COMET, it was still a fun trip. I’ll have to post some pictures of the turqoise linoleum tiles and cork flooring I found at the other ReStores recently.

Of course I don’t have to explain how much I adore the ReStore and what it stands for. I think I mention it often enough! On my Tour de ReStore adventure I’ll be specifically looking for things like countertops, wood material to build a kitchen/dinette table out of, and other surfaces. Of course, I always find something I didn’t even know I needed, like textured glass in the exact size of the broken window in the COMET! You just never know.

Tomorrow I’m going to try to go to another ReStore that’s pretty close by, just to see what they’ve got. I’m also open to using weird materials from their free pile or other unusual things and modifying them into what I need. I’m always wondering, how can I make that door into a countertop? How can I use that window in the bumper greenhouse/garden?

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Cheap Green RV Living Resource

Good Morning!

I have been a big fan of the website cheaprvliving.com for a long time now. It is full of really useful information from Vandwellers and Fulltimers who have been living the alternative, mobile lifestyle for a long time, in everything from minivans to school buses. I really appreciate the no-frills attitude of the site and the vans/RVs/camper conversions that they feature. They have simple ideas about simple living.

I just recently discovered that cheaprvliving.com launched a sister site, called Cheap GREEN RV Living, and it’s all about how to live more sustainably in a camper, bus, converted van, or car. There are lots of ideas for off-grid alternative energy systems, boondocking tips and tricks, and how to respect the planet while living more freely. Some of the articles on CheapGreenRVLiving.com talk about how to pare down your possessions, some talk about the logistics of using the toilet, and others give detailed step by step instructions for installing a PV system on your van’s roof. My favorite page is the product reviews page. This guy is super honest and has actually used all of the products he reviews, so I found this article really useful.

Anyway, check out both sites if you haven’t already, you won’t be disappointed!

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COMET Update – Documenting Progress

Well, the weather has been steadily improving here in Massachusetts, and I’m getting really excited about “breaking ground” in the COMET. I’ll be moving her away from her factory parking lot home to my house where I can work on her. Soon I’ll be peeling back the walls to see what surprises wait for me there (most likely a rotten wood surprise). Then I’ll be testing the electricity and looking at the wiring to figure out how to best implement my totally DC solar system, while fixing up the tow wiring/lights.

This may be a little premature, since nothing has really been set in stone yet, but I’m VERY excited and honored because Derek Diedricksen, fellow MA tiny house guy and artist (check out relaxshacks.com) asked me to bring the COMET to his summer Tiny House Workshop this year, and give a little talk about the project and show it’s progress. It’ll be great for people to be able to feel the space and see my work in progress: a behind the scenes sort of thing. The fact that I’m going to be towing the COMET around while it’s being worked on makes me think I should work backwards: design and repaint the exterior first, then work on the inside. I want to have a really eye-catching and informational exterior design so that people know what the project is all about, and maybe put the website on the side so people can find more info about it. Anyway, more details on the COMET’s live appearances this summer will follow.

This past week I have been reflecting on the progress of The COMET so far, putting together a very large and detailed presentation about what I’ve done in the last few months. There’s so much research behind the scenes, behind every blog post. It’s so interesting to look back on my preliminary project ideas, my first grant proposals, and other material from a few years ago, when the COMET was just a dream, and then look at how much progress I have made in terms of the concept and what the project really means and needs to accomplish. It’s also amazing to see how much my knowledge of sustainable sciences, materials, and systems has increased and grown from a general interest to a real understanding.

One thing that I have been thinking about in particular is the pros and cons of using newly manufactured “eco-products” versus recycled and repurposed materials, which may not be “eco” per-se, but would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. In my mind, it is better to use an existing material (reused, recycled, or just leftovers) than purchase something brand new, because no matter how sustainable the new product is, it has to be manufactured using some form of energy, it has to use fuel to travel, etc. I think instead of using as many “eco-friendly” products as possible in The COMET, I am going to focus on the repurposing and recycling of existing materials, and whatever I can’t find used, replace with eco-friendly new. I’ve been thinking of innovative ways to re-use things that I already have in order to make what is currently missing in the COMET.

This post was really scattered, but I just wanted to give you all a general update :) Thank you to everyone who has been reading along and following the progress of The COMET. Contact me with any feedback you may have or ideas you think I should be incorporating into the project!

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The COMET, expanded

What does The COMET mean?

C – Cost-efficient. The Comet will focus on using affordable products and affordable methods in it’s construction. It is important to me that the goal of The COMET is within reach for anyone wanting an alternative way of living. I will be using as many free and recycled materials as possible, as well as salvaging what can be re-used in the original trailer.I’ll be divulging lots of good resources for cost-efficient materials and projects.

O – Off-grid. The Comet will be completely self-sustaining in energy and resource use. Some of the systems that will be incorporated include photovoltaic, rainwater collection, and a composting toilet. The Comet will be able to function completely off the grid. It’s the ultimate freedom!

M – Mobile. Of course, the nature of the camper trailer is to be mobile. The advantage of this is flexibility and cost-efficiency. Flexibility in your housing can lead to opportunity and greater personal freedom. Financially, a mobile structure is generally less expensive to maintain and keep. In most states anything on wheels is exempt from building codes, zoning laws, and taxes!

E – Eco. Eco-friendly means good for the planet and the environment. It also translates into “human” friendly as natural products are generally more healthy for us than products soaked in chemicals. The materials that I use in The Comet will be sustainably produced and non-toxic. All building materials (aside from what I can find for free/recycled – which still have to be healthy of course) will be examples of new technologies in sustainable “green” building methods. In addition to using only Eco-friendly building materials, all of the fabric, linens, cleaning products, hygienic products, etc. within The Comet will also be eco- and people- friendly. The trailer itself will be “green” by using only renewable energy sources. It’s really important to me that The Comet is a naturally safe, healthy, and environmentally responsible home.

T – Trailer. Because that’s how we roll! Literally. Get it?

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