Presentation 0 :: Klima Klasse
Who am I ? (Daniel)
  • founder of oldest Slovak digital community
  • Bc. in humanities (Charles University in Prague) and Bc. in linguistics (Universite de Nice Sophia-Antipolis)
  • MSc. in cognitive sciences (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris)
  • PhDs. in psychology (Universite Paris 8) and cybernetics (Slovak University of Technology)
  • ex IT-Admin of UdK's Medienhaus
  • Digital Education juniorprofessor (Einstein Center Digital Future / UdK)
Why am I here ?
  • You invited me
  • I used to be a rebel and maybe still am one (in disguise)
  • I have two children and my duty is protect their dreams from getting "stolen"
  • in the Bildung Digitale curriculum I am slowly developing, Nature is the primary among three "core" concepts (Nature, Human, Computer)
  • in my main design project (digitale Fibel) ecology plays a very important role
  • and ...
... I propose You to collaborate

CO2-Neutrality and Digital School: can we align them?
Track eCampus  of the conference Campus Innovation 2019
Donnerstag, 21. November 2019, 15:50–17:30, Hamburg


In this talk, we shall propose multiple concrete and practical tips how a contradiction between goal of carbon neutrality on one hand, and demands of energy-hungry digitalisation on the other, could potentially be resolved, at least in educational settings. Besides a brief discussion of some basic facts concerning renewable resources and photovoltaic technologies, we shall mainly focus on concepts of circadian and energy-autark (eutark) devices. While circadian devices are defined as devices with pre-built daily “rhythms", eutark devices are devices able to generate energy necessary for their own operation. Contingently to constraints of circadianity and eutarky, we shall present further enviromentally relevant design choices which were made during the development process of the "digital Primer" (digitale Fibel). The primer is a DIY digital education artefact aiming to attain operational CO2-neutrality by means of combining circadian components and strategies with well-selected hardware (Pi Zero instead of Pi 3 or 4), interfaces (e-paper instead of screens) and software (bare-bone OS, optimized code) etc. Towards the end of the talk we will discuss the potential didactic impact of primer-like devices on the behavior of their users, further amplifying positive ecological implications of our proposal.

...what about a little narrative ?
Bild 0
Our Planet - Gaia, Terra, Erde, Γῆ - the mother of only Life we know ... is sick !
Bild 1
This planetary illness has something to do with humans, industry, machine ...
Bild 2
The machine never sleeps ...
Bild 3
... the machine consumes energy
... sucks out the life-force from forests and coral reefs
... pollutes with excrements which cannot be composted
Contradiction ...
... between goal of carbon neutrality on one hand, and demands of energy-hungry digitalisation on the other
Energy - hungry digitalisation ?
Devices which increase the electricity bill of a digital school may include desktop PCs, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, raspberry PIs & IoT devices, GPUs, beamers, displays, audio stuff (amplifiers, active speakers, broadcasting systems), interactive whiteboards, fiber optic adapters, routers, switches, hubs, WLAN access points, antenas, printers (including plotters, 3D printers, lasercutters, CNC cutters etc.), augmented / virtual reality environments, surveillence & security setups, different kinds of "smart" sensors and controllers, power supply and power management units, TPUs and other application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) etc.

Note: devices consume electricity even when they are in idle / standby modus.

Carbon - neutrality (operation)
High-cost solutions:

  • already available: wind, photovoltaics, thermal, heat pumps
  • just arriving: photobioreactors (e.g. algae-based) and carbon-sequestrating paints
  • source of hope: fusion energy (e.g. Wendelstein 7-X sterellator project in Greifswald)

Mid-cost solutions:

  • audit, diagnose & optimize electricity demands of your digital infrastructure
  • implement localized, circadian and eutark strategies
Carbon - neutrality (production-related costs)
  • recycle & upcycle
  • establish repair cafes
  • adopt a digitaly sober, and lean ICT strategy *
    • buy the least powerful equipment possible
    • change equipment as rarely as possible
    • reduce unnecessary energy-intensive use
Audit, diagnose & optimize

    • put electricity meter(s) between Your electricity plug and Your devices to assess true power consumption of Your office or classroom
    • identify culprit devices
    • identify most power-hungry processes : COMPUTATION AND POWER CONSUMPTION ARE CLOSELY RELATED
    • if possible, optimize Your processes / code
    • focus on habit-related and "historical" reasons
    • note: many "analogue" administration or HR procedures can (and should) also be optimized

Circadian devices
"A circadian device (CD) is defined as a device with pre-built daily “rhythms”. 

That is, a device manifesting at least two state transitions (for example “deep-sleep to full activity; full activity to deep-sleep”) within a 24-hour period.

Ideally, the very hardware of such device is designed & optimized to be automatically turned “on” and “off” on a regular basis. 

A “deep sleep” of a certified CD is to be characterized by energy consumption limitely close to zero. This implies that—with exception of few microor nanoamperes keeping the reactivation clock battery alive in order to know when to trigger the relaunching spark—a certified CD will be simply and measurably, off."

(Synergie #7, 2019, Hamburg)
Example 1 :: a pseudo-circadian service

00 23 * * Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu,Fri /sbin/wifi down 
00 7 * * Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu,Fri /sbin/wifi

into crontab file of WLAN router which runs on OpenWRT to shutdown wifi on weekends and between 23:00 and 07:00.

Note: this example is labeled as pseudo-circadian because it only stops & restarts one particular service (WLAN routing) but leaves the underlying hardware running.

Example 2 :: digital Primer
"The major boot-up time of our current Primer prototype is at 14:30 of the timezone within which it is currently located. 

Consequently, the Primer is active for an hour, inviting the Child to perform whatever activities she finds appropriate (e.g. reading, writing, speaking, listening, arithmetics etc.). 

After one hour, the artefact shuts down on its own, in order to wake up once again at 18:00 for a ”minor” interaction session lasting 30 minutes. At 18:30, it shuts down and stays deactivated until next afternoon."

(Enfance, 2019, )
Eutark devices
An eutark (=energy autark) device is a device able to produce energy necessary for its own operation.

This definition implies that an eutark device:
  • should produce as much energy as it can
  • should consume as little energy as possible
Produce as much energy as it can ?
0th advice :::


Imagine that solar cells necessary to power Your device have 5mm thickness. Given that the enclosure of Your device is 5cm thick, You can potentially pack 10 layers (panels) of solar cells into it.

This implies that You can potentially unpack 0,62 m2 of solar panels out of a device enclosure with a surface area of an A4 paper (=0,062 m2),
Consume as little energy as possible ?
1st advice ::

USE E-Paper instead of screens

E-paper does not radiate light and hence does not consume electricity in order to display content. Energy is consumed only when content is changed. Hence, e-paper is to be understood as the solution of choice for any non-animated content.

NOTE: e-paper and circadian strategies are a very good match
Making of a digital education artefact #3 : E-ink
Make Your Own Device ! During this seminar, we are going to familiarize ourselves with e-ink technology: what are its main (dis)advantages in comparison to dominant display technologies. And we are going to connect our e-papers to Raspberry Pis and Arduinos and create some real stuff: e-paper based wearables (maybe), the second prototype of a digital primer and who knows, maybe a cool interactive but low-consumption menu for Medienhaus cafeteria. MYOD !

Grunewaldstrasse (Medienhaus) Raum 311
Wednesday, 16:00 - 19:00
bi-weekly sessions on: 30.10, 13.11, 27.11 (Berlin Open Lab), 11.12, 18.12, 8.1., 22.1. (Einstein Center Digital Future), 5.2
Wahlfplicht, 2 credits
CO2-neutrality revisited
Low-cost, high-impact solutions
  • increase the life-time of Your devices (e.g. 37% reduction of related GHG caused by increasing the lifetime of laptops from 3 to 5 years)
  • Repair Cafes, upcycling, composting
  • incentivize presence of plants in offices and classrooms
  • embelish campus lawns ("green deserts") with trees
  • reduce meat consumption
  • raise awareness
Raising awareness
"Watching a video online on the Cloud for ten minutes, for example, results in the electricity consumption equivalent to the consumption of a smartphone over ten days. In other words, the energetic impact of watching a video is about 1,500 times greater than the simple electricity consumption of a smartphone itself."