Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Energy Efficient Water Pumps

Piston PumpA few years ago we invested in a high quality dc pump for our offgrid
water system. It was recommended we go with a solar force piston pump
with a 12v motor. Although it is a fine pump, and is much more efficient
than our old jet pump, it was well over $1000. Piston pumps were well
known 50 years ago, and can last a century if taken care of. We have
replaced the rubbers and packing in a few of the old ones, but parts are
getting hard to find. We now have the same pump available that the solar
force is built on, brand new, and can easily get replacement gaskets and
packing, for less than half the price that Conergy (formerly Dankoff) is
selling the Solar Force. You can hand crank, pedal, or install a ac or
dc motor to this pump. 300-400 rpm is recommended.

Jim Juczak of has finished his book, The High Art of Scrounging, and his DIY Hand Powered Deep Well Pump. See for details.


Energy Fair Success

DIY BerkeyWe had a great time at the North Country Energy Fair. We had about 20 people attend our “DIY Solar class”, 10 at our “Make your own biodiesel” class, and about 50 attend the off-grid water pumping and filtration class we presented with a panel of 4 others, including Jim Juczak of Woodhenge and Rob Roy of Earthwood. Rich Douglas covered wind pumping, Jim covered deep well hand pumps, I covered filtration, John covered solar pumps and Luke Martin covered well buckets. Rob’s presentation covered pedal powered piston pumps. We gave about 30 rides on our E-Zip electric bike, and everyone had a lot of fun with it. Our DIY Berkey Water Purifier was a big hit, as was the Nature’s Head composting toilet, and the MRSA and Swine flu resistant cleaning products. Tom Leue presented his Yellow Heat Veggie Furnace. You can find more info on these products at, and construction details on the DIY Berkey at