“Vintage campers will save the Planet.” That’s a pretty bold statement. I do think vintage/used/old campers can play a role in the way people begin to think about their housing in relation to the environment, social responsibility, and sustainability. Vintage campers make ideal Tiny Houses. First of all, they are tiny (of course) and on wheels – two basic characteristics of most tiny houses. Even a large camper is a tiny house! Also, I think it is always better to re-use an existing structure than it is to build from scratch (the exception being if the existing structure is unhealthy or toxic in some way…moldy, asbestos, etc.) Using an existing trailer camper cuts down on waste and keeps these usable little homes out of the landfill. Often, there will be valuable materials that can be salvaged from the existing trailer. Of course, there is personal preference and style to account for: campers don’t look like miniaturized log homes or mini-mansions, they look like campers (though I have seen a camper re-done with shingle siding!). I’ll admit they aren’t perfect for everyone, but it’s definitely a really viable option for the future of housing.
Another thing to consider is cost. To build a tiny house from scratch will cost much more than retrofitting an existing structure (in most cases – depends on what you want to do of course). I’ve gotten campers in towable, totally restorable condition for less than $500. Sometimes a retrofit is a pain in the neck: campers are built from the bottom up, so it can be difficult to replace and repair things in the undercarriage area (but it has been done!). However, I think in terms of cost efficiency and eco-friendliness, making a tiny house out of an existing trailer is the best bet. Even if your tiny house was built out of entirely sustainable materials (which would be very expensive), it would still be using resources that an existing trailer has built into it. Buying the separate parts to build a camper would be much more expensive than purchasing one used.
Also, campers just look awesome!
Here’s a great example of a sustainable Tiny House on wheels (Taken from SunRay Kelley’s website: http://www.sunraykelley.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=61&Itemid=99). It’s a hybrid between a Class C camper and a vardo. It has elements of traditional homes (wooden siding, a back deck) but is still distinctly “camper”. SunRay Kelley is an inspiration for anyone interested in green building and alternative dwellings. Check out his website! http://www.sunraykelley.com/
To be continued….
What do you think? Totally green retrofit or build a tiny house from scratch? Which would you do?
Let me know in the comments!