Richard and Rachel decided to build a home on a bus soon after they met. This decision was born out of their shared desire to own their own home, have the ability to produce all they needed themselves, and have the option of going anywhere they wanted to.
Their dream began turning into a reality once they bought a used school bus for $3000. This was followed by Richard and Rachel drafting the plans for their new mobile home using AutoCAD. Theyâ€™d purchased an old bus, instead of just getting an RV or mobile home, because they wanted total freedom over how their new home will look. They also considered the other two options much flimsier than a steel-framed bus. The bus gave them a blank canvas of sorts to work from, and afforded them the ability to maximize the available space and functionality in the most efficient way possible.
Their new home is also totally off-the-grid, and powered by solar panels, as well as propane and butane. On the roof of the bus, they mounted 6 solar panels, which they bought used off eBay for $200 each. This gives them a total of 770 watts of power, while they are still in the process of buying larger batteries that will enable them to store 2-3 days of sunlight. They also fitted their new home with a catalytic heater fed by propane, and use a butane camp stove for cooking.
They also invested in an upright and front-loading solar powered refrigerator and freezer made by Sundanzer, for which they paid $1200. This is the worldâ€™s first battery-free solar powered refrigerator, and was developed by a former leader of NASAâ€™s Advanced Technology Refrigeration Project .
Richard and Rachel are still finishing up the conversion, as they are doing it step by step. So far creating a home from an old bus cost them $12,000, which includes buying the bus and the fridge. They spent a further $1200 on a solar-powered composting toilet. They currently still donâ€™t have plumbing, but this is next on their list of work to be done.
Their custom built home is fitted with transformable furniture and has room enough to sleep ten, since most of it can be converted into a bed. The main bedroom is located in a loft area. The home is currently still registered as an automobile, though they hope to change that to RV status soon. Currently, they are only paying about $100 per month for utilities and bus maintenance.