Low Impact Living Intiative

Low Impact Living Initiative.org

Low Impact Living Initiative.org

“LILI was founded in 2001 by two members of Redfield Community. The community itself was founded in 1978, and in 2001 had solar hot water, compost loos, straw-bale buildings, organic gardens, orchards, soft fruit, bees, sheep, chickens, natural paints, lime, wood stoves, and one member was experimenting with making biodiesel from waste cooking oil.Most importantly, the land was owned cooperatively, and decisions were made by consensus (both of which are still the case – and because of the founding documents, are unlikely to change).

For us, there seemed nothing unusual in any of this. It seemed infinitely preferable to consumerism, competition, and lives lived far removed from nature and other people.
We wondered if anyone else might be interested in learning about natural building, renewable energy and local food production. We formed a not-for-profit organisation, came up with a name, and started running some courses in 2001: biodiesel, permaculture, solar hot water, straw-bale building, natural paints & lime and compost toilets.

Well, yes they were interested. Our course programme has grown every year since, and we’ve added books, including our own publications, free factsheets, magazines, a huge links database, forum, ‘ask the expert’ products, services and online courses on over 180 topics.”

More at the source: Low Impact Living Intiative.org

Low Impact Living Intiative is a post from: Natural Building Blog

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Small, Simple, Efficient RAM ProMaster DIY Camper Van Conversion

We have enjoyed RVing over the years, but lost our last RV in a highway crunch.

One thing we did not enjoy about RVing was the 10 mpg gas bills and the 2 lbs per mile of CO2 emissions. So, this project is about getting back into RVing with a smaller footprint.

The RAM ProMaster 1500, hi roof, 136 WB at start of conversion

Objectives for the new van conversion:

  •  Keep it simple 
  •  An open feel inside
  •  20+ mpg
  •  Comfortable beds for 2
  •  No need for hookups 
  •  Drives like a car
  •  Able to handle some back roads 

The RAM ProMaster we bought for the conversion is a high roof, 1500, 136 WB. This gives us an area to work with of about 10.1 ft long by 6.5 ft wide (behind the driver/passenger seats). The inside height is about 76 inches.  A really Tiny House :)

It was the smallest and lightest vehicle we could find that we think will also provide enough space  and stand up height.  

Just as an aside, it would be very interesting to see what could be done with an even smaller vehicle -- maybe something like the Ford Transit Connect -- a 30 mpg RV!

So, this is going to be a several month project, and I'm just going to be adding to it as things go along. 

I'd very much like to hear ideas, comments, and suggestions that we might be able to incorporate as things progress.

I've put up a new section on BuildItSolar with pages for each major part of the conversion: layout, insulation, paneling, flooring, electrical system, ...  The main page for the conversion is here...

Progress so far...


We have pretty much decided on this layout:

We did a very crude mockup of this layout in the van:

The two beds are in the back and make into a seating area during the day, galley is on right behind drivers seat.  There will be some more storage cabinets around the edge up high.  New windows will be added in 3 or 4 locations (about where the blue tape is).

We like this nice open feel of this and the high quality beds.

More on other layouts we considered...


Did the insulation of the walls and ceiling using spray foam polyurethane insulation.  I used one of the two component kits that provide the two pressurized bottles and spray nozzle and hoses.  

Had never used one of these kits before, but it worked out pretty well.

All the details on insulating here...


I've been working on the electrical system design.

Its a bit more complicated than I would like in that we want to be able to spend a couple days (or more) away from hookups.  It has a fairly large battery and the battery can be charged via solar (on the roof), the van alternator, or from shore power.

I've worked out a tentative list of components.

Would appreciate any comments on the design or the components.


Today's project is the floor.

I've put up a new section on BuildItSolar with pages for each major part of the conversion: layout, insulation, paneling, flooring, electrical system, ...  The main page for the conversion is here...

Gary July 22, 2014

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