I love the idea of a low powered web page and a solar powered server. Looking at this example it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary that this is the kind of resource that we’ll need when colonising Mars. The web would be a valuable resource, but I envisage it being more like the earlier days of the web than today’s giant pages.
A second reason for growing Internet energy consumption is that we spend more and more time on-line. Before the arrival of portable computing devices and wireless network access, we were only connected to the network when we had access to a desktop computer in the office, at home, or in the library. We now live in a world in which no matter where we are, we are always on-line, including, at times, via more than one device simultaneously.
“Always-on” Internet access is accompanied by a cloud computing model – allowing more energy efficient user devices at the expense of increased energy use in data centers. Increasingly, activities that could perfectly happen off-line – such as writing a document, filling in a spreadsheet, or storing data – are now requiring continuous network access. This does not combine well with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, which are not always available.An excerpt from How to Build a Low-tech Website?