off-grid cooling

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Off-grid cooling
Methods of evaporative cooling and refrigeration

Make cheap air conditioning, keep foods cold.
Two concerns living off-grid are how are you going to stay cool in
the unbearable summer months and how are you going to keep
your foods and medicines cold. You can learn to use nature and
technology to accomplish both with the off grid cooling
techniques below...

Off Grid Cooling
In an emergency, you likely won't have any electrical hookups
and eventually the propane will run out.

When you live off grid you need to know how to make cheap air
conditioning and how to make off-grid refrigeration. To that end,
here are some ideas..

#1: Geo thermal cooling.
Learn how to make cheap air conditioning with earth tubes! This
Do-It -Yourself homemade air conditioner can keep you cool off-
grid. Sharon Buydens shows you how to make this non-electric
and sustainable design using geothermal energy.

Earth tubes are underground tubes that use geothermal energy
to cool or heat-temper the air for your home. It works like cheap
air conditioning because you can build it yourself for several
hundred dollars and the best part is that once you set it up it's
totally free to run with no electricity needed. Being completely
passive, this is a sustainable technology based on designs that
are 3,000 years old and still used today around the world to cool

#2: Swamp cooler.
A swamp cooler is an evaporative cooler sometimes also called a
desert cooler or wet air cooler. Swamp coolers keep you cool
through evaporation of water and a turbine.

Air conditioning systems uses a vapor-compression or absorption
refrigeration cycle.  by employing water's large enthalpy of

#3: Thermoelectric cooling.

  • Koolatron car refrigerator. The Koolatron P-27 Voyager
    plugs directly into your vehicle's 12- volt plug to deliver
    reliable thermoelectric cooling. Use it to keep medicines cool
    on a long trip, or pack it full of your favorite drinks and
    snacks. No matter where the road takes you, a cold drink
    will be within arm's reach. It's a small refrigeration system
    that plugs into your car, but for someone on a budget who
    has diabetes and needs to ensure medicine stays
    refrigerated, this can be a life-safer.

#4 Solar refrigerators and freezers.
The sun warms but it can also cool when its power is harnessed
into solar refrigeration! Solar refrigeration is especially important
diabetics who are preparing for emergencies. Lifesaving
medicines must be refrigerated.

  • Solar refrigerator. It seems impossible, but a solar
    refrigerator exists and this is a godsend to diabetics. A solar
    refrigerator for them is a lifesaver because insulin must be
    kept refrigerated. The Cowin Solar Powered Fridge, pictured
    right, saves you money! First, the power from the solar
    panel is free since it is not coming from the grid, and
    second, this fridge is energy efficient so when AC power
    needs to be used from the grid, it uses minimal energy  to
    power the fridge.

  • Solar freezer. It's cool to discover a solar freezer even
    more amazing that you can own a full-blown solar freezer!
    Sunstar pioneered the largest market sized DC powered
    chest freezer. You can go off-grid, instead of paying for
    electric bills. Use this freezer anywhere it may be costly or
    not feasible to pull electric lines replacing gas powered units.

#5: Natural refrigeration.
At the most basic level, off-grid cooling for your food is possible
with a root cellar or a zeer pot refrigerator. There are other
methods to keep medicines and perishables cool.

  • Root cellar. A root cellar was the way your ancestors stored
    root vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, or turnips, but
    it's also a good location to store beer and wine. Here's more
    about root cellars and what to avoid.

  • Stream. A cold stream might be the perfect place to keep
    diabetic medicines, provided you secure your stash from
    floating down stream. It's not a good place to store food if
    wildlife can access it.

  • Snow. Living in a snow-bound region will ensure a partial
    solution for refrigeration depending on the season. Bears
    hibernate in winter, so this isn't a problem if you live

  • Zeer pot "refrigerator." Zeer pot refrigeration is a method
    of evaporative cooling, a non-electrical refrigerator of sorts,
    recreated by a Nigerian teacher to help his community
    preserve food in the harsh and arid conditions. It does the
    same as a root cellar, but it's much more convenient. It's
    not really a refrigerator, because your food will never be ice-
    cold, but it will keep your food cold. The zeer pot is a good
    basic option for anyone living in hot zones where harvested
    produce might wilt away otherwise. This lost technique of
    refrigeration, which was resurrected by Nigerian teacher
    Mohammed Bah Abba for the betterment of people in his
    community, is a method of evaporative cooling. He created a
    method of cooling food with evaporation and earthenware.
    Essentially you nestle two pots ~ one smaller inside the
    larger one with wet sand filled between and a cloth or wet
    woven cover.
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Above, Evolution off Grid uses a Sundanzer Freezer.

Sundanzer Solar Freezer
This ultra-efficient Sundanzer solar refrigerator provides
exceptionally low energy consumption, requiring less expensive
power systems and providing lower operating costs. Can run on a
solar panel, battery and a
15 Amp charge controller (not included)
in most areas. U.S.A. Storage Volume (cu. ft.): 8, Style:
Refrigerator, Dimensions 50W x 30D x 38H inches, Cooling: Uses
environmentally-friendly CFC-free refrigerant, Works With: Requires
at minimum 80W solar panel, 110Ah battery, 15A charge controller.
(Solar sizing depends on usage and sun hours at any location).

  • DC refrigeration: Be sure to use a right-gauge wire.

Happy endings...
Off-grid cooling for your home could be as simple as a home made
swamp cooler or more well planned as in a tube air conditioning
system that uses the cold air from the earth. Off-grid cooling for
your food can be as simple as a zeer pot or more technological such
as a solar powered refrigerator.

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