Home / HOME (page 4)


How to Build a Low-tech Internet


Wireless internet access is on the rise in both modern consumer societies and in the developing world. In rich countries, however, the focus is on always-on connectivity and ever higher access speeds. In poor countries, on the other hand, connectivity is achieved through much more low-tech, often asynchronous networks. While …

Read More »

How to Get Your Apartment Off the Grid


The typical solar PV power installation requires access to a private roof and a big budget. However, wouldn’t it be possible to get around these obstacles by installing small solar panels on window sills and balconies, connected to a low-voltage direct current (DC) distribution network? To put this theory to …

Read More »

Slow Electricity: The Return of DC Power?


In today’s solar photovoltaic systems, direct current power coming from solar panels is converted to alternating current power, making it compatible with a building’s electrical distribution. Because many modern devices operate internally on direct current (DC), alternating current (AC) electricity is then converted back to DC electricity by the adapter …

Read More »

Why We Need a Speed Limit for the Internet


In terms of energy conservation, the leaps made in energy efficiency by the infrastructure and devices we use to access the internet have allowed many online activities to be viewed as more sustainable than offline. On the internet, however, advances in energy efficiency have a reverse effect: as the network …

Read More »

How Sustainable is PV solar power?


It’s generally assumed that it only takes a few years before solar panels have generated as much energy as it took to make them, resulting in very low greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional grid electricity. However, a more critical analysis shows that the cumulative energy and CO2 balance of …

Read More »

Rings of fire: Hoffmann kilns


About a year ago we presented a medieval building technique that could save large amounts of brick and thus embodied energy in construction: timbrel vaulting. Turns out that there is also a 19th century brick and tile production technique that is surprisingly energy efficient: the Hoffmann kiln, a giant version …

Read More »