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  • Jon Runningbear

Off the grid in your bus conversion



Living well with off grid systems.

I want to break this into four parts, I want to go into depth about each system we build for off grid living in a bus conversion. Some people believe that they are green or off grid if they are doing with out a system in their conversion. The problem with this is, they are using other systems like at a truck stop or a gym that are more wasteful than our off grid RV systems.

The four parts will be 1. water purification both drinking and waste water. 2. Electrical systems both AC and DC. 3. Cooling and Heating systems 4. Appliances


So lets get into the water system first. We have developed a water purification system that can bring any water thats not chemically contaminated to bottle water standards. One of the most limiting system in any RV is the water supply and holding of waste water supply. So many have to break camp to go empty tanks and fill water tanks every few days. Our system reduces this time to once a week or never depending on what water is close to you.

First we have a system that will pump water up to 500 feet to the RV and then the RV pump will put into the water storage tank. So if you are with in 500 feet of a river for instance you simply take the pump box down to the river with your hose, you put the intake in the river, the discharge hose will connect to the RV city water port. Then you turn on the self powered pump in a box and this pushes water to the RV. Through a series of valves you can let the RV pump suck water from the city fill port and redirect it to the holding tank. Fill the tank and then disconnect everything. If you are remote and not around a lot of others, you can just leave it connected and divert the water to the filtration system to supply the coach instead of the tank. Then you are simply using water straight from the river to the coach instead of from your holding tank. The advantage here is that both pumps cycle on as needed and you aren’t relying on a limited tank volume. The water goes through the purification system before it goes to coach out puts so you have clean drinkable water no matter the source. The system filters the water based on its use, the washing machine for your clothes gets filtered to 5 microns. This is what most city water is filtered to. Then we filter the shower and dish washer water to 1 micron, finally to .35 microns to drink. We have other filters that will take out taste and odor from the water and a citrus based water softener for hard water locations. These filters can be bypassed based on need. A water test kit will tell us which water softener to use. We kill bacteria and viruses with a UV light then filter them out. The advantages of this system are far reaching but what lead me to develop it was my dogs would get sick every time we change water. Now no matter where we are or what water source we have the water is the same.

One way to test how pure your water is, freeze it only perfectly pure water will freeze clear, if your ice is opaque or cloudy then you know its not very pure, you can see this in ice sculptures the reason they are so clear is the water they used to make the ice blocks is pure.

Black and gray water


We use a composting toilet we build in house, we have two options, a all in one toilet and a rv toilet with a composting canister type so the compost toilet will do just that, it compost the solids and diverts the urine to the grey system or ground. The compost canister will handle the liquid and solids in the composting canister. The canister is mounted under the bus and the all in one toilet is all inside the bus. The canister is larger and needs less emptying. The canister also has a grey water wash out system and a hydronic heat loop to aid in composting time reduction. So because we use a compost toilet then we have no need for a black tanks.

The grey water can be filtered and then put back into the holding tank to reuse. This process does require some changes in the products you use. The soaps and cleaning chemicals used need to be such that can be filtered out. Most times what the manufacture calls organic or natural aren’t. So some research on this is needed. Once you know what you are putting in the water besides your body oils and dirt you can filter the grey water and return it to the ground or to the holding tank for further filtering and purification. A system like ours is used by NASA on the space station as carrying water to space is very expensive. So they recycle every drop they can. This does a lot more than conserve and being green truly green, first it eliminates plastic tanks, it reduces water usage, opens up floor plans so you don’t have to work around tank Placement. Reduces plumbing and weight.

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