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    Their actual solar powered website is super interesting as well. Check out the image processing, the background (which shows the server’s battery level), and the code.

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      Yeah it’s a wonderful, inspiring project. Balcony-scale :)

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      Another important factor that should be included in sustainability calculations is the total energy cost and pollution output for production and shipping of the hardware (server, solar panel, battery) divided by their lifetime. It is not easy/often impossible to trace the full supply chain of these components, but many supposedly sustainable projects are in fact not because they forget to take this aspect into account.

      I imagine that in this case everything is fine, but I would love to see the numbers.

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        Wow… never thought people will be so creative to use natural resources. Thanks for sharing. Going to ready more content from this site and their sister site.

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          I hope the AC or space heating wasn’t on while the author was writing this piece because that would completely negate the few Wh of carbon saved a thousand-fold.

          ps. using solar power for miniscule amount of carbon saving is mental masturbation and would solve no problem.

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            It sounds like you’re unironically criticizing people for participating in society while also trying to improve society. Any serious attempt to address the climate crisis will require the coordinated participation of our whole civilization, individual action is insufficient, but it is still valuable for individuals to explore what steps our society could take to address the climate crisis. People do not have to be ideologically pure in order to try to make the world a better place.

            That said, the author has taken heroic efforts to take his apartment off-grid, to the point where “These conditions allow me to get through the winter without a heating system, relying only on solar heat and thermal underclothing.” So this writer definitely did not have space heating. (He acknowledges this is only possible because of the climate where he is.) I don’t see him mentioning in that piece whether he has air conditioning or not, but given that he has written extensively about more efficient cooling using fans instead of air conditioning, I suspect he uses less air conditioning than the average person. Purity should not be required for criticizing our society, but Low Tech Magazine does pretty well in the purity department.

            It’s also a little disingenuous to call this a minuscule amount of carbon saving. Yes, his one relatively low-traffic website would not produce massive amounts of carbon emissions either way. But the point is that if the tech industry used these techniques to cut website emissions to a similar degree, it absolutely would have a substantial effect on global emissions. In 2015, data centers alone already contributed 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a similar share to global air travel. Worst-case scenarios could lead to the internet contributing up to 23% of global greenhouse gases by 2030. As we do more and more online, turning everything from cars to refrigerators into computers and connecting them to the internet, the internet will be an increasingly large part of our carbon footprint, unless we take action to limit the internet’s emissions. EDIT: I also expect the pandemic to accelerate the movement of everything online, making the sustainability of our web infrastructure even more vitally important.

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              I believe you replied to me by mistake, but I appreciate your argument and fully agree with you.

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              I feel that these types of dismissive comments are often left on projects addressing components of the climate crisis and are not very productive. You are implying that it is useless to work on this component because other parts of the problem are even bigger and more daunting. As mentioned on the about page, internet usage is already responsible for 10% of global energy usage, so even if we solve the AC and space heating issues first, we will also still need to solve the internet problem.

              And even apart from that, just because a project doesn’t solve the whole problem at once, doesn’t mean that it is useless. There is actually huge value in providing inspiring solutions and showing how small things can be improved, if only for the value of inspiring people and getting them to think about the energy use of the websites they use each day. We actually will have to transition to a carbon-neutral or even negative global society in the coming decades and it can only be done in steps, so it would be best if every initiative towards that goal is received constructively, without dismissive comments that divert attention by referring to the scale of the overall problem.

              Edited to add: I also just want to say that this whole idea of good efforts being ‘negated’ by some other appliance running is completely nonsensical. Whether an AC or space heating is on is completely independent from whether the server for this site is sustainable. In this hypothetical scenario where the author is running an AC or space heater, if the site was not sustainable the total emissions would be those from the AC/space heater plus those of the server, while with a sustainable site it is only those of the AC/space heater if one of those is on. As you can see, nothing is being ‘negated’, and it is misleading to state it as such.

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                I agree. Apart from the fact that many frankly act and speak in bad faith, we must never forget the scale of climate change. Even if one wants to dismiss this solar server as a toy experiment, it is at least an experiment. To any and all pot-shotters, MacKaye’s corollary holds: ‘what the f*ck have you done?’

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                  ‘what the f*ck have you done?’

                  Why must a person have done something for his opinion on something to be valid?

                  Can I not criticise the pointlessness of something if I don’t also participate in said pointless something?

                  Not to mention that when it comes to carbon emission, not doing anything is actually better than the alternative, a lot of the time.

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                  You are implying that it is useless to work on this component because other parts of the problem are even bigger and more daunting.

                  No. Im implying that it is not very useful and that it would be more useful to solve a bigger part of the problem.

                  And even apart from that, just because a project doesn’t solve the whole problem at once, doesn’t mean that it is useless.

                  It does mean that the effort could be more effectively spent else where. That it is not being spent then begs the questions of why? If the purpose is to reduce carbon emission, there are much better places to spend effort. Therefore, one can conclude that the purpose is not to reduce emission.

                  without dismissive comments that divert attention by referring to the scale of the overall problem.

                  Diverting attention to the scale of the overall problem is a good thing in my book, lest attention is spent on micro-solutions.

                  Whether an AC or space heating is on is completely independent from whether the server for this site is sustainable.

                  Opportunity cost of effort etc. The fact that it might be carbon+ to simply stay at home for one day rather than coming to work to write a piece about how you can save a few Wh of carbon by giving up 10% uptime.

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                    Office work is itself a big problem one lowtechmag has engaged with here for example: https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/2016/11/the-curse-of-the-modern-office.html

                    The fact that it might be carbon+ to simply stay at home for one day rather than coming to work to write a piece about how you can save a few Wh of carbon by giving up 10% uptime.

                    And if you read the article you would know the whole setup is based on the author’s apartment balcony :)

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                      My comment is about the writing, not the physical setup of the machine.

                      And one could contrive a few scenarios where doing something else will end up saving on emission. Because at the end of the say, beating a few Wh in carbon saving isn’t hard.

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                  More details on how the system is built and power usage here: https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/2018/09/how-to-build-a-lowtech-website.html