Week Four Update

Today’s seemingly uneventful update is brought to you by: Amazon. At least, that’s where all of the appliances I bought this week came from.
These included:

  • A portable toilet
  • A propane water heater
  • An rv refrigerator
  • A propane oven/stove

The questions I get most often about my project involve my ability to do things like cook, store food, shower and use the restroom. In an amendment to my original plan, I’ve decided to add propane and plumbing to the van. This will take some of the energy usage off of my solar array, especially during the winter, when I’ll be getting little more than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day. This, combined with the increased need for lights and heating, would be pretty taxing to run off of solar alone. By having a properly vented propane system installed, I’ll be able to cook, run a heater, and have hot water in the van. Plus, my refrigerator can run off of propane if needed, though I don’t plan to do that unless it’s absolutely necessary.

With the knowledge that I’ll have access to hot water (and because I’d have to pay someone to install the propane anyway) I’ve decided to have them install a plumbing system at the same time so that I can add a shower in the van.
I decided to stick with the portable chemical toilet because it takes up less space and doesn’t require the installation of a black water tank. Being able to carry it to any toilet or port-a-potty to empty the tank rather than having to pump sewage out of the van seemed more convenient. 
Aside from purchasing appliances and getting installation scheduled, we made little progress to the project other than purchasing paneling to put on the walls and acquiring wood from my grandparents’ farm to use for building cabinets and drawers. We’ve been working on designs for the bed frame and cabinets, and hopefully will be starting those soon. 
We spent Saturday morning in Smyrna meeting with Steve Johnson, the founder of Light Wave Solar. He is offering insight into the best way to go about mounting solar panels to the roof and what sort of monitoring systems we’ll need to use for the research aspect of the project.
I’m still struggling to count the little victories and to recognize that progress isn’t always immediately tangible. In the mean time, I’m happy to answer any questions about the plans for the van. 


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