Lighting Up Homes With Plastic Bottles, Water, & Bleach


Liter of LightI’ve covered cleantech solutions for several years. I’ve covered tens of thousands of stories. One of the stories that garnered the most enthusiasm and sharing was about one of the simplest solutions. The idea has been implemented in several places by a few organizations, but I think Liter of Light has taken it further than any other.

The “cleantech” solution I’m referring to is the use of an old plastic bottle, water, and bleach to bring sunlight to homes and other buildings without electricity. It is surprisingly effective and has transformed perhaps over 1 million lives by now.

The plastic bottle filled with water and bleach just needs to be stuck in the roof about halfway inside and halfway outside the building and it brings in about as much light as a 40W or 60W incandescent light bulb.

I think this idea was first developed by a Brazilian engineer, but Liter of Light introduced it to the Philippines in 2011, and since then has brought it to 350,000 homes and shops in 15 countries.

Of course, this is a tremendous boon to people who don’t have electricity, but it also helps those who have electricity to save ~$10 per month, which is a large amount of money in many parts of the world.

Liter of Light has also taken this simple but effective solution one step further. It now attaches a micro solar PV panel, an LED, and a battery to the bottom of the plastic bottle light in order to provide clean and cheap lighting at night.

If all of that wasn’t enough to make you fall in love with this organization, catch this bit: “Liter of Light focuses on training economically marginalised groups, such as disabled people or women, to install the equipment. These people then have a source of income and a respected role within the community.”

The lighting solution is actually an open source solution, with Liter of Light making instructions publicly available, but it also trains local people, as noted above, to become installers and earn money with the new job.

The impact this organization is having is immense, which has landed it in the finals of the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize in the nonprofit category. It is one of five fantastic finalists in this category.

Originally published on Sustainnovate.

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