Fiat lux! Let there be light! A timeless phrase that has been used since biblical times, in classrooms and even in movies has a more humanitarian and sustainable meaning since 2011. MyShelter Foundation, a ‘green-energy for all’ organization, began the Liter of Light project out of a simple idea to light up the homes of those who could not afford to do so themselves. With the help of MIT students, the technology of empty water bottles, water, bleach, and a slab of cement has taken the place of electricity and changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

The first installments began in Manila, Philippines. Since electricity rates are so high, families are forced to keep the lights off during the day. Due to the infrastructure of the homes in many of the poorer areas, however, light does not enter the homes during the day and families are left in darkness.

Building the makeshift light bulbs is easy and requires little to no maintenance. 1 liter plastic bottles are taken, filled with a small amount of bleach to keep the water and bottle clean and free of germs, then filled with water. When sunlight enters the bottle, enough light is produced that equals that of a 55-watt light bulb! The benefits of the water bottle bulbs are endless. Not only do they eliminate the need for electricity during the day, but they also reduce monthly electricity costs, are sustainable, help keep slums free of plastic waste, are easy to install, and add a greater sense of well being to the home environment.

Since 2011, Isang Litrong Liwanag (the translation of Liter of Light in Filipino) has spread to other countries such as Cambodia, India, Vietnam, Spain, Egypt, Peru, Kenya, the Middle East, and even Switzerland. MyShelter hopes to reach its goal of installing 1 million water bottle light bulbs by 2015.

– Deena Dulgerian

Source: A Liter of Light