Low Cost Refrigeration

The Cool Box
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOAm0p0BuKM&w=420&h=315]
How to Make a Pot in Pot Cooler
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfKgOpJc7Ps&w=420&h=315]
Much of the content here on our Earthbag Building Blog is based on reader input and reader interest. We’ve already responded to thousands of comments and suggestions. I got an email the other day asking for advice about low cost refrigeration for off grid homes. They said they have the earthbag housing part figured out. And they have a small solar panel for LED lighting and charging their cell phones and laptops. But they’re looking for alternative energy sources and methods for keeping food cool. I’ve already covered Cool Pantries that keep food cool without electricity in fairly good detail, so now I would like to list some interesting YouTube videos. There are many more videos on this and related topics. This list of some of the better videos will help get you started. Use the keywords below to search for more videos on each type: pot in pot, Peltier, etc.

A Fridge Run Without Electricity Creates Waves Amongst Villagers
Refrigeration Without Electricity
Solar Powered Evaporative Cooler
How to Make a Fridge Root Cellar
No Power Fridge
Zeer Pot Fridge
Emily Cummins
Adam Grosser: A New Vision for Refrigeration
Free Energy Fridge
Peltier Effect Fridge
Peltier Cooler Fun
Solar Fridge Test
Solar Hydrogen Home
Solar Chilling and Cooling
Solar Venti Earth Cooling Kit
Solar Evaporative Cooler
DIY Refrigeration System

18 thoughts on “Low Cost Refrigeration”

  1. Good points, thanks.Many alternative ways of providing refrigeration are certainly useful.Just wanted to say thank you so much for such a fabulous idea today! Thanks for sharing out so much useful information for others.

  2. alternative ways of providing refrigeration are certainly useful. however, also re-thinking how much you actually need to refrigerate in the first place is also a wise idea. note that it’s not all-or-nothing; if you reduce the number of things that you need to keep cool, you can reduce the size of whatever cooling source you use.

    from the “little house in the big woods” blog of “greenpa”, who’s lived a super-green off-grid existence for 30+ years, including not having a fridge, a couple posts about how he does it, which should provide some ideas for those looking to reduce (or possibly even eliminate) their refrigeration needs:


    • Good point. So many things that seem essential are really just luxuries. Think about how much pollution is caused by refrigerators alone — mining of raw materials, manufacturing, transport, plastics, refrigerants that destroy the ozone and pollute the water, burning of coal to produce electricity. We live in a crazy world.

  3. One thing with the Zeer pot cooler, it doesn’t work in high humidity areas.

    Videos and sites I have read on Zeer Pot experiments find that the temperature gets down to around 10°C.

    Not sure how much of that is true.
    But for the cooling to take full effect, needs to be covered for at least 12 hours.

    I have an idea of making a large Zeer Pot cooler;
    Fill it with water, put in a large copper wound tube and direct the copper tubes to a fridge (with modification), add in an blower or extraction fan and have it cycle.
    It could make a decent off-grid refrigeration system.

  4. Anyone considering a pot in pot cooler should probably see No Impact Man for a different, not so positive perspective. Not that any one source should be the final word on an idea, but it is good to have a broad spectrum of information.

      • I’m thinking of the movie, in which the wife was more stressed out and unhappy with the refrigeration issue than anything else they gave up if I remember correctly. They tried the pot in pot for awhile and in the end he had to agree with her that it just didn’t work for them – food went bad, it smelled, etc. Maybe they didn’t do it right, or maybe their climate was bad for it – I have no idea. But it for sure stuck in my mind as an unpleasant experience and not something I would be real excited to try.

    • Well you could download the videos (e.g. with FireFox plugin “Downloadhelper”) with a lower quality and watch them offline later.

    • There’s a substantial temperature difference. One of the videos on YouTube takes repeated temperature measurements and shows the temp going down. I could guess but it’s better to search through a few pot in pot or zeer videos (same thing) and look for that one that takes the temperatures. He uses a digital thermometer.


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