Too Much Combustion, Too Little Fire
29 December 2019 | 11:28 am

The fire – which we have used in our homes for over 400,000 years – remains the most versatile and sustainable household technology that humanity has ever known. The fire alone provided what we now get through a combination of modern appliances such as the oven and cooking hob, heating system, lights, refrigerator, freezer, hot water boiler, tumble dryer, and television. Unlike these newer technologies, the fire had no need for a central infrastructure to make it work, and it could be built locally from readily available materials. Illustration: Diego Marmolejo. From Open Hearth to Power Plant The habitual use of fire dates back at least 300,000 to 400,000 years. [1-2] Until the twentieth century, the biomass-fuelled fire was the...

The Printed Website: Second Volume Out Now
5 December 2019 | 3:36 pm

The printed version of Low-tech Magazine can be viewed with no access to a computer or a power supply -- or when the solar powered website is down due to bad weather. The second volume of the printed website is out now and contains 32 articles originally published between 2007 and 2012. The book, which has 618 pages and 268 images, sells for $25.20 in the Lulu Bookstore. Whereas the first volume contained all but a handful of web articles published between 2012 and 2018, this second volume features a third of the web articles published in the earlier years, carefully selected for their continued relevance and interest today. Overall, we wanted to make an attractive book with timeless articles...

Mist Showers: Sustainable Decadence?
17 October 2019 | 11:34 am

The daily shower would be hard to sustain in a world without fossil fuels. The mist shower, a satisfying but forgotten technology which uses very little water and energy, could be a solution. Designer Jonas Görgen developed a do-it-yourself kit to convert almost any shower into a mist shower and sent me one to try out. The Carbon Footprint of the Daily Shower The shower doesn’t get much attention in the context of climate change. However, like airplanes, cars, and heating systems, it has become a very wasteful and carbon-intensive way to provide for a basic need: washing the body. Each day, many of us pour roughly 70 litres of hot water over our bodies in order to be “clean”....

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