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List of Cooling Systems for Off the Grid Living

Air conditioners use a lot of electricity, but there are other ways to keep your home cool if you are living off the grid - although having the necessary cash is prohibitive for some of these ideas below.

#1. Geothermal - Useful for both heating your home in the winter and cooling your home in the summer. Basically it recycles air from below the ground into your home, which then averages out the temperature since the temperature below ground is much cooler in the summer and much warmer in the winter. (Kind of useless in spring or autumn however.)

#2. Cross Breeze - This is an old way of doing things, but still effective. You use drapes to keep out the heat from the sun, but open the windows on opposite sides of the house to let a cross breeze go through the entire house.

#3. Water Cooled Air Conditioner - Honestly I only have a vague idea of how it works, here is the diagram below. From what I can tell it works similar to a geothermal unit, but using water as a cooling agent.

#4. Dehumidifier - Often it isn't so much the heat that is a nuisance. It is the humidity in the air that makes it feel even hotter. To solve this a Dehumidifier can be a very handy solution - and price wise they don't cost much. Energy use varies however so look for an energy efficient one.

#5. Trees - This is an old trick. You plant leafy deciduous trees on the southern side of your house and pine / spruce trees on the north side. In the summer the leafy trees on the south provide shade and absorb a lot of the heat. In the winter the evergreens provide protection from winds from the north, while the leafless trees on the south side let in warmth from the sun.

#6. Ivy - Grow ivy and similar vines (eg. grapes) on the south, west and east sides of your home. The ivy absorbs a lot of the heat from the sun and keeps the house cooler. However ivy can cause damage to the brickwork of your home over the long term.

#7. Reflective Shutters - Shutters by themselves are handy things, but what if they were designed to be more like mirrors? Reflective shutters bounce light/heat away from your windows and keep the interior cooler.

Note: You can also get reflective blinds, but they're less effective because they're inside the window, whereas shutters are on the outside.

#8. Ceiling Vent - Similar to a cross breeze, but since hot air rises this is more effective.

#9. Fans - Not the most effective route honestly. Fans work best in combination with a cross breeze or a ceiling vent. Otherwise you are just blowing hot air around. A dehumidifier is a more effective use of your electricity on a hot and humid day. If you simply must get a fan then get a ceiling fan.

#10. Start using your imagination. Everything from building an ice cellar to bringing blocks of ice out of the freezer.

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