Fritz Schumacher discussed in the book “Small is beautiful” that the technology should have a human face in order to really do something for us and to improve our living conditions, so that it serves man instead of destroying it.

Facing a worrying environmental and social situation, appropriate technologies are presented as a solution. Therefore, in the following lines we will learn about the important role that these technologies should comply.

In this section, we want to raise the significance of appropriate technologies. Let's start by explaining why we say they are “appropriate”.

These technologies are appropriate because they are effective:

  • In technical terms, they are “clean”.
  • In social terms, they are adapted to the uses and adopted by the beneficiaries.

Therefore, they are viable, they induce a significant positive environmental impact (pollution reduction, reduction of greenhouse emissions, reduction of deforestation), allow a significant improvement in the lives of the poor and respect fundamental equilibrium of the environment (social, ecological, economic and political) in which these technologies are introduced.

  • Renewable energy technologies

    They allow to use the energy that provided by sun, the wind, heat from the earth, water, tides and also the growth of plants. By definition, these energies are renewed naturally after being consumed. Consequently, they are inexhaustible.

    In rural areas, renewable energy brings a real dynamism, small business development and/or local businesses, energy independence (to deal with fuel shortages). It also helps to slow urbanization and to rise education standards.

    Some of the appropriate technologies that can supply a minimum of low-cost energy needed in the context of development projects are:

    • Photovoltaic modules or photovoltaic solar collectors.
    • Wind systems.
    • Small hydroelectric stations.
    • Geothermal facilities.
    • Bio-digesters from urban or agricultural waste.

  • Energy efficiency technologies

    These technologies improve existing schemes adapting the model to social and environmental needs in order to reduce energy consumption to strictly the necessary.

    While renewable energy represents a real axis of human, economic and social development, energy wastage & lack of efficiency are an environmental scourge upon which action is required. Energy improvement of existing technologies in the industrial process, transport and even in homes constitutes an essential part of the energy efficiency policy.