Living with the Sun

Boudewijn Buitenhek

In the Netherlands, an increasing number of people are installing solar photovoltaic panels on their rooftops. However, this way of living is not affordable and accessible to everyone. In this project, I explore how I can participate in living with more sustainable energy sources, while living in a rented apartment. 

As part of my research process, I lived without gas and electricity for a week and observed the consequences this had on my life. I realized that even something mundane as coffee making was an issue and is particularly challenging as it requires a lot of energy at once. I decided to design a coffee bean roaster and boiler powered by the energy of the sun, employing glass tubes originally developed for rooftop solar water heating systems. In this system, solar heat gets trapped in the core of the cylinder, reaching temperatures above 200 degree Celsius. With this machine I want to show that there are other means of harvesting the sun's energy, even inside an apartment behind a window. 

In order to test the impact that the solar coffee machine has on my life, I roasted beans every day for a month. This resulted in a diary consisting of jars of roasted coffee that combines the weather, my life, and the nuances of living with a solar powered coffee machine.