Should you ever get the notion to convert a school bus into anything, please consider the matter of temperature control.
A school bus makes a fine greenhouse. The same generous window-acreage that gives the interior of the bus such a cheery brightness lets in plenty of heat on a sunny day. On a cold day, that is a good thing as it warms the interior. On a hot summer day, however, the bus becomes a furnace. Throw in a busy coffee roaster and a gas stove baking a half-dozen serial batches of cookies, and you have a recipe for meltdown.
Our bus (a Bluebird, but most others are similar) has minimal insulation, and retains little heat on a cold day. On a chilly fall day, even with the roaster going steadily, it takes an hour or two for the place to feel warm. On a winter day, auxillary heat is needed to warm the place up.
There are a few things that can help these temperature issues:
- trees are a handy thing. park in the shade.
- open the windows. School bus windows are notoriously cranky to close, but keep the tracks clean, a little teflon spray helps, and develop a practiced snap of the wrist with even pressure on both sides, and voila! Food regulations require screens, and if you use propane in the bus as we do, you will find that the interior becomes a huge mosquito magnet. We have used velcro and magnets to hold screens in place with some success.
- The ceiling of a school bus is a dome that holds heat very neatly. Even with windows open the dome retains heat. It needs to have a roof vent. Many newer buses have roof vents installed. Ours did not, and I installed a small solar-powered vent and fan, which makes a big difference.
We plan on a few other modifications: an awning to shade the windows on whichever side is sunny; an air-conditioner for the really impossible days. I can let you know how that works out.