Solar bottle light
Singapore 10th June 2011
Sometimes people come up with simple yet “powerful” ideas. Recently I read that students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a cheap and easily reproducible solar light bulb by using a simple bottle. The bottle is filled with a mix of water and easily available chemicals and then popped into the ceiling, its top outside in the sun, its lower part acting as a light diffuser inside. These solar light bottles are now used in poor communities in Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines.
It is a very interesting side of our profession as lighting designers as we hardly get to be involved at this end of the scale, lighting to the very poor communities, where just one light bulb alone probably means a lot of luxury. It puts a different spin on things. We design lighting as a profession, mostly high end developments with cash rich clients. But at this end of the scale lighting design, if we can call it that way, is about looking at ways to provide one lighting point in a room at no or absolute minimal cost. In rural areas where electricity is hard to come by and if available expensive, a lighting solution such as the solar light bottle seems a big thing.
It requires a total mind shift as designer where lighting is not a luxury commodity but a treasured basic need. I can only speak for myself of course, but such news items always bring me back to earth, to the extent that I am seriously questioning myself if we are on the right track with all these mega luxury developments (Dubai- China), crazy multi-media façade lighting and so on.
It makes me even more determined to strongly look at each and every lighting design we produce to make sure we do not “overdo it”, have maximised energy saving and designed the lighting to sustainable levels. As lighting designers this should be central to all our thinking, we have a leading role to play. We have just commissioned our first 100% LED restaurant in Singapore, saving 80% energy per lighting point, without
sacrificing on ambiance or comfort! I feel good about that….
In Light Watch today check out the solar ligt bottle at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zMAWztZ6TI.
Many other websites report on it.