For us, North Americans, switching a light on in our homes is something we do not think about. It is a gesture that we take for granted and we just do it when we need light to go about our business. But such is not the case for everyone and in every country, certainly not in the Philippines.
It is no secret: we have almost reached the year 2012 and unfortunately, more and more people live in slams in developing countries. Their living conditions are nothing to envy: many families move near cities to have a chance at a better life, a better job and better living conditions, but often end up having an even worst quality of life. Many live in fortune houses with no running water and no electricity. And those who are lucky enough to have electricity often cannot afford to use it to light their homes. Know that electricity in the Philippines is the most expensive in Asia.
But thanks to Illac Diaz, a local entrepreneur and Founder of Liter of Light, many families can have light inside their house. He is in fact the person responsible behind this simple but great idea to light homes in poor communities. He has found an affordable, simple and green solution to a lighting problem.
The concept is simple but so very effective: recycled plastic bottles are filled with water and a little bit of bleach. The bottles are then pushed through a small piece of metal. A hole is afterwards made in the roof of the house to put the bottle through. And then: magic! The home made bulb refracts and spreads sunlight into the house, 360 degrees. What is amazing is that such a bottle creates 50 to 60 watts of light. Each light costs about one dollar to make and takes less than an hour to install. Also the clear light will last for 5 years. Now that is energy efficient.
“Four months ago, only one family was using it. 15 000 families are using it now. 2000 bottles are installed in roofs every month. The potential demand is huge”, can we learn in a news report aired on the BBC last summer (see the link below to find out more).
Again, it is no secret: developing countries’ issues are oftentimes very complex and organizations have no choice but to really think outside the box and be innovative as the resources we take for granted in our everyday lives are non existent or difficult to access in these parts of the world. Thanks to a yet simple but very ingenious solution such as a recycled plastic water bottle filled with water and bleach, there seems to be a brighter future for so many families.
The project called Liter of Light is an innovative, sustainable energy efficient idea that greatly improves the quality of life of thousands of people. Simply brilliant!