Sustainable is attainable with a motorhome holiday

We’re becoming much more adept at finding ways to improve our global footprint, and taking motorhome holiday has a surprisingly low climatic impact…

Whether through ditching single-use plastic, saying no to straws, upcycling old furniture or downgrading our carbon emissions, waste is now at the forefront of our minds.

Quite right too, but along with the pressure to be sustainable don’t we also need to make sure we are relaxing, taking time from a hectic work schedule, relieving ourselves from the ‘always on’ burden of social media and the perpetual flow of the bulging inbox?

Of course, we do, says Ross Edwards, managing director of leading motorhome dealership Erwin Hymer Centre, Travelworld. “Going green has risen up the average person’s holiday agenda over recent years, which has significantly, if what somewhat passively, propelled the motorhome holiday too, people are realising that they can be a giant carbon footprint closer to ‘switching off’ and staying sustainable.” 

Ross Edwards, managing director of leading motorhome dealership Erwin Hymer Centre, Travelworld

According to a report by the NCC – Norway’s alternative to the UK trade body, the National Caravan Council - motorhomes ‘have a lower climatic impact than comparable holidays’ as reported in the UK’s NCC Business magazine. The greenhouse gas (GHG) research conducted by the Norwegian association drew comparisons between how many emissions were produced by motorhomes compared to other accommodation types and transport. This included holidays at home, a motorhome holiday, package holidays, city breaks, camping with a vehicle and a tent, a cruise and others.

Although a motorhome holiday was not the lowest on the list (holidays at home naturally produced fewer emissions) other, more similar holidays like package holidays, produced significantly more carbon emissions and a cruise is by far the greatest emitter with almost 10 times as many Co2 emissions produced, than a motorhome holiday, according to the study.

Edwards continues: “Most people taking a motorhome break would not consider holidaying at home as an alternative. They are more likely to choose between a package holiday or even a cruise. It is entirely likely that the developing sense of urgency with regard to global warming and dwindling fossil fuels has impacted positively on peoples’ decisions to invest in motorhomes, which are increasingly being seen as greener alternatives to flying.”

Motorhome innovation: clean diesel

In terms of actual fuel consumption, new motorhomes are fitted with diesel engines that comply with the new European Commission standards of Euro 5 and Euro 6 and both are fitted with particulate filters. Euro 6 engines have emissions control technology that converts up to 99% of combustion engine exhaust pollutants and particulates.

a motorhome on the road against sunset

However, the environmental benefits are far more than simply the reduction in fuel consumption when you consider the low amount of energy used whilst enjoying a motorhome vacation. Combined with this, the industry has been at the forefront of the energy self-sufficiency drive for some time now, with innovations from portable, lightweight solar panels to more energy efficient insulation and heating systems. Dethleffs, for example, has recently unveiled a concept-design, solar-assisted electric motorhome which boasts a battery which lasts for around 155,000 miles before it needs replacing, and the solar panels can provide an extra three kilowatts of energy for everyday usage.

With so many people and organisations cutting back on air travel it’s easy to envisage a continued demand for motorhome holidays. For example, Danish newspaper Politiken has stopped its journalists taking domestic flights and is reducing their international flights to a bare minimum, with its travel section now concentrating on destinations reachable by alternative, more environmentally friendly forms of transport. Likewise, respected environmental pressure groups such as the WWF are promoting driving or using the train as a more ecologically preferable method of arriving at holiday destinations on their website.

Edwards concludes: “Climate change is not just about the state of our planet, but a change of climate in terms of peoples’ principles and values. We see motorhome holidays as being one step nearer to helping people who want to help the planet.”