Low-tech Magazine is trying to use as little energy as possible.
The internet consumes a huge amount of energy, meaning the fact that we all seem to be perpetually online nowadays isn't great news for the web's impact on the environment.
That's why the environment-focused Low-tech Magazine redesigned its website to use as little energy as possible. In a new update this month, the publication explained that the entire site is now powered by solar panels on the owner's balcony in Barcelona, Spain. It's all part of a years-long initiative to conscientiously downgrade the site by taking away all the fluff that make the internet, as Low-tech Magazine phrased it, so "heavy."
Compared to most sites that are regenerated every time someone visits, Low-Tech Magazine is now a simple, static website that's only generated once and simply exists as a network of documents on one laptop in Spain. That means it takes less processing power and energy both when it comes to maintaining the back end and when it comes to users loading a new page.
The site also uses compressed, grayscale imagery and a default typeface, meaning that users don't need to render any new files just to visit. The images on the site, as a result, use only about 10 percent of the energy as a full-color image would.
Because the entire site is powered by personal solar panels, it sometimes goes offline when Barcelona has bad weather or during the night. That, in the view of the site's owner, is a perfectly acceptable consequence of minimizing its impact on the environment — and it even offers weather updates for readers planning their "visit."
It's a neat project, but it's unlikely that the approach will take off — the self-imposed technical limitations of the site prevent it from running the sorts of banner ads that help fund and sustain lots of popular news sites, making it difficult for other publications to follow Low-tech Magazine's lead.
READ MORE: About this website [Low-tech Magazine]
More on the internet: In The Face of Climate Change, The Internet Is Unsustainable