Low-tech Magazine: The Printed Website
31 March 2019 | 1:01 pm

After 12 years, Low-tech Magazine finally makes the jump from web to paper. The first result is a 710-page perfect-bound paperback which is printed on demand and contains 37 of the most recent articles from the website (2012 to 2018). A second volume, collecting articles published between 2007 and 2011, will appear later this year. Book Design The books are based on the same electronic documents that make up the solar powered website of Low-tech Magazine -- all articles were converted to Markdown, a lightweight markup language based on plain text files. Therefore, the content is almost identical. Both the books and the website use dithered images, albeit for different reasons. On the solar powered website, dithered images reduce page...

Heat your House with a Mechanical Windmill
27 February 2019 | 10:04 am

Given the right conditions, a mechanical windmill with an oversized brake system is a cheap, effective, and sustainable heating system.

Keeping Some of the Lights On: Redefining Energy Security
9 December 2018 | 7:10 pm

As a society depends more on energy sources for its daily functioning, it becomes more vulnerable if the supply of energy is interrupted. This obvious fact is ignored in current strategies to achieve energy security, making them counter-productive. Image: Camilla MP. What is Energy Security? What does it mean for a society to have “energy security”? Although there are more than forty different definitions of the concept, they all share the fundamental idea that energy supply should always meet energy demand. This also implies that energy supply needs to be constant – there can be no interruptions in the service. [1-4] For example, the International Energy Agency (IEA) defines energy security as “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an...

How Circular is the Circular Economy?
3 November 2018 | 3:55 pm

The circular economy – the newest magical word in the sustainable development vocabulary – promises economic growth without destruction or waste. However, the concept only focuses on a small part of total resource use and does not take into account the laws of thermodynamics. Illustration: Diego Marmolejo. Introducing the Circular Economy The circular economy has become, for many governments, institutions, companies, and environmental organisations, one of the main components of a plan to lower carbon emissions. In the circular economy, resources would be continually re-used, meaning that there would be no more mining activity or waste production. The stress is on recycling, made possible by designing products so that they can easily be taken apart. Attention is also paid to...

How to Build a Low-tech Website?
25 September 2018 | 1:49 pm

Low-tech Magazine was born in 2007 and has seen minimal changes ever since. Because a website redesign was long overdue — and because we try to practice what we preach — we decided to build a low-tech, self-hosted, and solar-powered version of Low-tech Magazine. The new blog is designed to radically reduce the energy use associated with accessing our content. The solar powered server that runs the new website. Read this article on the solar powered website. Why a Low-tech Website? We were told that the Internet would “dematerialise” society and decrease energy use. Contrary to this projection, it has become a large and rapidly growing consumer of energy itself. According to the latest estimates, the entire network already consumes...

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