We hear about climate change everywhere we turn these days. Sustainability, carbon footprint, green energy, eco-friendly… all expressions we hadn’t heard a dozen years ago, but now they pop up in the media day after day. It’s hard not to be aware of the debate that rages and the possible long-term threat to the world we know.
Now, there are believers and non-believers when it comes to global warming, but no matter which camp you sit in surely we can agree that the world would be a better place — now and in the future — if we could reduce pollution and our use of finite resources.
Maybe you’ve already retro-fitted your home with the likes of low-wattage lighting, water-efficient shower roses, solar panels or insulation, to name but a few of the measures we can take. They’re all things that can reduce your ecological footprint and possibly improve your quality of life and your finances.
But what about when you’re on the road? Are you as green as you could be then?
Apart from the fuel we burn getting from A to B (which can be significant), living or holidaying in a caravan or RV is probably about as eco-friendly as you can get in today’s world, especially if you opt for the independence of free camping with minimal facilities. Your entire living space is packed into around fourteen square metres, you cook on gas, use just a few (battery-powered) lights and probably take shorter showers to conserve your onboard water supply. And for the ultimate in eco-friendly camping there’s the total independence of clean, green solar power.
If you prefer to stay in caravan parks then your eco credentials are still pretty good. But would you go even further when choosing a park? Would you actually opt for a park which can demonstrate its eco-friendly status over and above its competitors?
There are certainly plenty of parks that work buzz words such as “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” into their websites and brochures. Many of these are drawing a fairly long bow for the sake of marketing. But there are others which are genuinely trying to meet, or exceed, environmental standards. Do a Google search for “eco-friendly caravan park”. You’ll have to sort the wheat from the chaff, but you will find parks that are fair dinkum in improving their environmental credentials.
Of course new parks should be designed with sustainability in mind, but there are existing parks that are choosing to go as green as possible, especially when major upgrades are required. For example, the Woolgoolga Lakeside Holiday Park at Coffs Harbour installed a new environmentally friendly amenities block which included solar water heating, LED lighting and water tanks.
Other smaller, day-to-day measures which can help the environment — and the park’s bottom line — could include planting a few trees or shrubs to shade a wall exposed to the sun, fitting low-energy lighting, ensuring fridges, washing machines and clothes driers have four-star (or above) energy ratings, installing water efficient shower roses and dual-flush toilets and using biodegradable cleaning products.
By the way, many readers have expressed a preference for basic, low cost caravan parks and it’s interesting that these businesses have the potential to be the “greenest” of parks. They don’t have the energy, water and land requirements of those that offer swimming pools, water parks, playgrounds and large luxury cabins. As long as the other operational aspects of these basic parks are up to the best environmental standards, they should score pretty well in the environmental stakes.
YOUR SAY: Are you a green nomad? Do you actively seek environmentally friendly parks? Have you stayed at an eco-friendly park that deserves a pat on the back? Or are you a park owner who is striving to run a green business? Tell us how you’re doing your bit to beat global warming.