Solar-Powered Media Project

Investigating the environmental impacts of online media content and designing a solar-powered server

Image of a solar panel propped against a window

The Solar Powered Media is a research project aimed at investigating the environmental impacts of online media content and the associated network infrastructure. The myth that our online activities have no cost, both environmentally and economically, is constantly reinforced by concepts like “the cloud” and by the myriads of online companies offering supposedly free accounts, free data storage and free services. This project tries to address these misconceptions, investigating the environmental footprint of our dependency to online platforms and their energy consumption, something that is rapidly expanding due to languages like Javascript, streaming media, analytics and more recently, highly processor heavy techniques like Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. 

The project investigates and prototypes the design and physical installation of a solar powered server to host web resources for the Integrated Digital Media Program at New York University. We are using open source hardware and software components powered by a small size photovoltaic system. We will integrate this work on the environmental costs of digital media and sustainable Web/UX design practices into our IDM classes and make curricular resources available to the general public.

Faculty Advisor

  • Benedetta Piantella
  • Email: benedetta.piantella@nyu.edu