Green Building Tips for a School Bus RV Conversion Project

Hello all!

I am currently ripping out the interior of a school bus that I am converting to an RV to live and travel in. I am familiar with green building techniques for homes in various climate zones with standard wood framing, but am unfamiliar with the techniques for a Steel-frame, sheet-metal-enclosed building envelope. Seeking Help! 

The first step will be to seal all penetrations, windows and any seams or leaks with all-weather silicone caulk and sealant. Once the shell is sealed, I'm not sure how to deal with insulation, air and vapor barriers because I'm not sure if condensation will be an issue with the sheet metal exterior.

So, I am reaching out to you all for some insight/ideas for the following components. Keep in mind, I will have a small pellet stove for off-grid space heating that should keep the interior dry, and will have a small AC unit + fan that is run off of deep-cycle batteries with solar.

Best Practices Recommendations?


-Denim batt insulation or Eco spray foam: Which would you prefer? What are potential issues with moisture from the steel frame and sheet metal walls?

Air/Vapor barrier: Is this necessary in this type of enclosure? I will mostly be living in a heating-dominant climate, so the vapor barrier I'm familiar with is on the inside of the enclosure, in front of the insulation. Does this still work? 

I don't want moisture to get trapped behind the insulation against the sheet metal of the bus and cause any issues there, so I am seeking advice if any one has some insight, I would be truly grateful.

Thank you!


Tags: RV, air, barrier, best, building, bus, comfort, conversion, green, insulation, More…metal, practices, seal, sheet, siding, studs, thermal, vapor, waterproofing

Views: 83

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

RV's always use foam due to they want to keep as much space as possible inside though generally they are sheets. With that a properly installed CC spray foam gives you the most bang for your buck & helps ensure your don't have moisture issues on the metal skin (make sure you talk to manufacturer reps - especially on prep / prime) & eliminates need of vapor barrier as it & the metal skin is one

I agree with Sean that closed cell spray foam is the way to go. Closed cell gives you R6 to R7 per inch, compared to about half that for open cell and fibrous insulation. Also, open cell is vapor permeable and you need at least 3 inches get an effective air barrier (maybe even more, can't find my reference).

Thanks for the advice! I was hoping to get away from the foam option to be more eco-friendly with the build, I have just about 600 square feet of wall, floor and ceiling area needing coverage, other options are so pricey!

Thermacork= $3,900

Roxul= $2,500 + rigid floor insulation

Spray foam= $800

Denim batts= $800 + need vapor barrier or some way of keeping condensation from building up + rigid floor insulation

Loose wool insulation= $560 +need vapor barrier or some way of keeping condensation from building up + rigid floor insulation

I hate having to use foam on this project, but it would definitely be cheap + easy. 

Any suggestions on how to make the wall assembly work with loose wool using netting or denim batts?

Thanks again!

Green building helps to reduce the negative impact on an environment. And help to save resources for future generations.  We can say that green building is an energy efficient. If you build a green building you can save lots of expenses.


Forum Discussions


Started by Jerry Needham in BPI. Last reply by Dave Taylor on Thursday. 6 Replies

Mini split air conditioners and ceiling fans

Started by Beverly Lerch in General Forum. Last reply by Daniel Baur-McGuire on Monday. 4 Replies

DIY Filter Solution for an Evaporative Cooler, anyone?

Started by Leslie Jackson in HVAC. Last reply by Daniel Baur-McGuire on Monday. 6 Replies

Apply now for the Jon Siemen Memorial Scholarship!

Started by Diane Chojnowski in General Forum. Last reply by Quinn Korzeniecki Aug 9. 1 Reply

Latest Activity

Brett Little posted an event

Green Rater LEED Credential Online Training at Online

September 5, 2018 at 12pm to September 6, 2018 at 5pm
With over 450,000 LEED® for Homes™ spaces worldwide, LEED is the international rating system to…See More
7 hours ago
Michael Schettine commented on Michael Schettine's video

AccuFrame Water Test

"The Like button doesn't work on this site..."
18 hours ago
Franco Oyuela commented on Mike Muras's blog post "Practical Standards to Measure HVAC System Performance" Rob "Doc" Falke 04/17/2006
"It's important to evaluate and inspect a system regularly to make sure it's at optimal…"
Seventhwave posted an event

HVAC technology enhancements for energy conservation at The Marq

October 4, 2018 from 8:30am to 4pm
Join us to learn how to get the largest energy savings in your commercial buildings. HVAC as a…See More
Peter Krych replied to Dav Camras's discussion Adding blown insulation to poorly installed batts?
"I agree, it is wasteful to remove and dump old insulation. I still does its job. Air sealing is…"
Michael Schettine commented on Michael Schettine's video

AccuFrame Water Test

"With the conversion rate that- air is 800 time LESS dense than water at sea-level…"
Michael Schettine posted a video

AccuFrame Water Test

In this short video, water is used to visualize air leakage sites that are present in the majority of framed walls in the US. New regulations require better ...
Sam Feder liked Dav Camras's discussion Adding blown insulation to poorly installed batts?
Chris Stratton liked Don Fugler's discussion Choosing a range hood
Dave Taylor replied to Jerry Needham's discussion VERY TIGHT HOME WITH OVER SIZED AC
"Jerry, you should look at" High Mass Walls" 105 paper for more…"
Jill Lindman's 3 events were featured
Jill Lindman posted events
Diane Chojnowski posted videos
Don Fugler replied to Don Fugler's discussion Choosing a range hood in the group Kitchen Ventilation
"Has anyone installed a range hood in an older home with the ducting down to the basement and out…"
Profile IconEileen Kraus-Dobratz, VENI MITTAL and Mark A McCrumb joined Home Energy Pros Forum
Brian Robinson replied to Dav Camras's discussion Adding blown insulation to poorly installed batts?
"YES, YES, & YES!!! Bat droppings, mouse droppings, dead mice, nuts, seeds, acorns, lack of…"
Matt Peterson posted a blog post

The Importance of keeping Professionally Trained Gas Line Installation Technicians happy and loving their jobs!

Our company is very much a family to us, we strive to bring in and develop great people into great…See More
Profile Iconyanky fogel, Kathleen Krebs, Nicholas Rubenstein and 3 more joined Home Energy Pros Forum
yanky fogel liked Home Energy Magazine's video
Franco Oyuela commented on Shawn Weeks's blog post How Homeowners Can Keep Electricity Costs Down in Summer Months
"Cutting back on air conditioning is also good for the environment because it reduces carbon…"


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2018   Created by Home Performance Coalition (HPC)   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service