07/16/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Lo-Tech Hi-Tech: The Simple Solutions All Around Us

sweater photo clouds

There are a lot of great low tech things around us that could help us reduce our impact. Take the bike, the sweater, and the awning, for example. Here are three pieces of "old" technology that are invisible to most of us despite their power.

The bike is the most efficient form of human transport. Here you are on just two wheels, meeting all the basic local demands of living, if you put your mind to it. It doesn't require fuel (other than the food you eat), gets your blood pumping, and lets you enjoy the world around you with the wind in your hair in a way you never can with a car. Plus it's easy, inexpensive to maintain and can save you a lot of cash on gas.

bike photo

The sweater puts self-created warmth exactly where it needs to be. Slip one on and there you have it: It starts working immediately. And it allows you to turn your heating down thereby reducing emissions and saving you some rubles. Yes, this seems simple, but if you think about it, it's also sorta genius.

The awning keeps a building cool in summer by blocking the high summer sun yet in the winter it allows the low winter sun in for warmth. This clever addition to our architecture only really caught on in the U.S. in the first half of the 19th century and has unfortunately all but vanished despite very clear benefits in the heating and cooling departments.

awnings photo

Do you have simple examples of lo-tech design that gives high-tech results? Comment below!

More from Graham Hill on Huffington Post
::Global Warming: How We Got Here and Why We Shouldn't Beat Ourselves Up About It
::Would You Kill What You Eat?
::Europeans Happier than Americans yet Half the Footprint
::Should Airlines Give Bottled Water to Flyers?
::Phones as Fashion: Can You Resist the New Apple iPhone?

More From Huffington Post on Waste
::Three Things I Could Live Without: The Bath Mat, the Paper Towel, and the Cocktail Napkin
::Top 10 Most Useless Items of Crapola

More on Biking From TreeHugger
::TreeHugger Tip: How to Bike to Work (without all the sweat)
::How Green is My Bike Ride?
::World"s Most Energy Efficient Vehicle? A Bicycle

Photos from top: o3Bor via Flickr; kawazyness via Flickr; manganite via Flickr.