The Green Machine

| July 29, 2002 Issue

O ne of the paradoxes about "eco-friendly" living is that it's not always budget-friendly, but Andy Thomson has found a way to live green while also saving some green.

Rebecca Atkinson in THIS Magazine tells of the architecture student's year of living with his wife and his daughter in a 108-square-foot step van. Thomson and his family are just a few who belong to the "eco-rv" community, which he calls "the last legal loophole available for truly affordable, experimental, eco-living" amid a bureaucracy of laws and building codes that make an eco-friendly life almost impossible. Thomson plans to change that, saying "going off-grid and helping others do the same is my goal in life."

Still, the eco-rv life has its own legal hassles, such as parking restrictions and laws that prohibit sleeping overnight in a vehicle--laws that Thomson suspects serve to cater to homeowners: "This bylaw is supposedly addressing health issues," Thomson states on his Urban rv Web site, "but anyone with a shred of common sense can understand that this is a social issue, and has much to do with property values."

But such annoyances are worth it to those in the eco-rv life, who enjoy what homeowners do not in independence and mobility, which Atkinson discovered for herself shortly after interviewing Thomson, and she runs down all the savings to be had in going off-grid.
--Julie Madsen
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