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Driving Toward Sustainability in a Green Airstream

3/17/2011 2:06:53 PM

Tags: Airstream,, American Clay, Nature's Head, Cece Reinhardt, Brenda Daugherty, green RV, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnail“There is not just one way to go green,” my friend Cece Reinhardt says. “It's about balance—taking on what you can, depending on your time, resources and passions. We are just two girls with a cat and a dog, trying to find the balance between freedom, sustainability and passion.”

I’m green with envy over how Cece and her partner, Brenda Daugherty, are expressing their balance—by traveling the United States and Canada in a solar-powered Airstream, decked out with the coolest green materials and pulled by a truck fueled with waste vegetable oil. 

Cece and Brenda began their journey—“driving toward sustainability one mile at a time”—by downsizing their lives and selling off everything they either didn’t need or weren’t using. They’re now in the process of rehabbing and greening a 2003 25-foot Airstream Safari and converting a used diesel truck to run on waste veggie oil (to haul it). “This might be more challenging than we think,” the travelers admit, “but that’s part of the fun!”

Cece and Brenda have given their Airstream several green retrofits. A Nature’s Head composting toilet reduces their water requirements, giving them the opportunity to stay off the grid and “boondock,” or park in places without RV hook-ups. The walls and ceiling have been covered with natural earthen plaster from American Clay. They plan to add solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system, cork and natural linoleum flooring, bamboo countertops and Elemental LED lighting before they hit the road in early summer.

“”Our goal is simple: travel and let people see how we live off the grid and learn from others who are on a similar path,” Cece and Brenda state on their website, “Our quest to live outside the lines and explore what it means to be sustainable, comfortable and bold has led us here.” Seeking to partner with businesses, schools and nonprofits, the couple hopes to spread their motto—conserve, explore, inspire—across the land.

I sure do wish I could ride along.

cece and brenda 

Cece and Brenda sold off all non-essentials to make their Airstream dream come true. 

cece airstream 

Cece and Brenda's 25-foot Airstream will soon be equipped with solar panels. 

cece wvo tank 

A 150-gallon tank holds used vegetable oil, which runs the truck that hauls the Airstream.

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cece reinhardt
6/14/2011 10:55:24 AM
Hi there - This is Cece from On the Green Road. I wanted to respond to the first comment as I see our project and it's mission much differently. Throughout this process our goal has been to minimize waste while creating a healthy and sustainable living and educational environment. We are excited that our greener version of this american classic will be used as an educational studio where folks can experience "hands on" interactions with systems and products that promote healthy living and help minimize the impact on our environment. We did not put items into the landfill (except for stained and unhealthy carpet). Everything else went to other RVers or to Goodwill. Our carbon footprint will also be much lower - solar power will keep us from having to "plug in", a rainwater harvesting system and a waterless composting toilet will lessen our need to fill up on water. All these things make a difference over the long run - each of us doing our part. We are also moving from a home of 1500sf to the Airstream of under 200sf. While we will be spending some time traveling the country and just exploring life, people and places, the majority of our travels will be taking us to locations where we have open houses and expo's to educate and share with those around us. We will be partnering with our sponsors and other non-profits, schools, etc to fuel this conversation and create community. Sometimes you just can't do that without getting out and meeting people. Cheers.

david lively
4/4/2011 1:21:38 PM
I live in a bus so i get it, but i want to make sure i understand. They are going to take all of the stuff that has already been manufactured and installed and rip it out, drop it in a landfill and replace it with newly manufactured stuff. Then they are going to needlessly drive around the country for fun. And this is green? Maybe they are burning WVO but wouldn’t that be better spent in a tractor or commuter car or perhaps a road tractor? Like i said, i live in a bus so i get the whole wanting to travel and move around and make a nice mobile home but lets not delude ourselves and pretend like it's green.

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