When Green School, on the Indonesian island of Bali, decided to install an ATM, they were torn. Large electronics don't really line up with their sustainability-focused mission. ATMs require electricity and are usually set in concrete (which is bad). On the other hand, paying the school's employees required frequent trips to the ATM eight miles away that burned a notable amount of gasoline. So they went for it, coming up with what may be the greenest, and coolest-looking, ATM on the planet.
The idea was sparked by a visit by a banker from Bank Internasional Indonesia, Green School founder John Hardy explains. She agreed to arrange the installation of an ATM, but the folks at the bank had "very specific ideas about how much concrete they had to pour in the ground, etc. and what it should look like," Hardy says - ideas that would make it look like an average cash machine.
To avoid pouring two tons of concrete into the ground, Green School found a very large stone and bolted the machine to that instead. The team built an enclosure of bamboo, glass and recycled aluminum to keep as much of it out of sight as possible. The cherry on top is the set of four solar panels, set on bamboo stalks so they look like antennae, and rise to a height where they're bathed in enough sunlight to consistently power the ATM.
John Hardy writes:
It's not a perfect world. The solar panel is normal GE solar panels, cable is regular cable. We are very proud at how we made the whole thing look and appear. People are amazed to see a pretty ATM. I guess that's the point. It's working well, serving the community and saving a lot of trips to the villages where people used to have to go to cash.
It just goes to show, even when low-tech solutions for the developing world aren't available, there are always things to be done to reduce the impact we have on the planet- and make things a good deal more beautiful as well.