“Solving Energy Poverty, a liter at a time” – Illac Diaz
Illac Diaz from the MyShelter Foundation aims to in this lecture showcase ways to reuse plastic bottles as quick solutions to solve lighting issues in crisis situations. The ‘Liter of Light’ project teaches communities the technology to create lamps both for daytime and nighttime use made of locally available resources.
This lecture aims to showcase ways to reuse plastic bottles as quick solutions to solve lighting issues in crisis situations. The ‘Liter of Light’ project teaches communities the technology to create lamps both for daytime and nighttime use made of locally available resources.
The lecture is based on new approaches to providing humanitarian goods which current aid does not take advantage or capitalize on local capacities to provide. It outlines the example of the ‘Liter of Light’ project, where the local population makes solar night lights out of used plastic bottles. It is estimated that seventy percent of all costs for aid is spent on logistics and supply chain management, rather than the contribution of the local population to providing a more sustainable solution. It calls for a new paradigm of producing goods with waste materials and local capacities.
Much aid focuses on the pressures of logistics and tend to favor large-scale, standardized resources. The goods have a mostly one-way supply chain that must have procurement, storage, shipping, another storage, and distribution steps. This chain is subject to the availability of goods, the steps are venerable to disruption and delays, and it also risks interrupting local markets.
Myshelter Foundation introduces the case studies of the bottle schools and Liter of Light that upcycles the large amount of bottles consumed in the urban areas into solar lights.
1. Mining waste as a resource for foundations rather than conventional purchase
2. Maintaining cash flow in the local community through local skills building.
MyShelter Foundation was conceived when Illac observed the shortage of classrooms in the provinces while trying to help solve the housing problem in the province of Negros Occidental, the sugar growing capital of the Philippines. By utilizing the endless supply of waste plastic soda bottles at the municipal landfill and local labor, money could be kept within the community and spent on building more cost-effective classrooms. MyShelter Foundation then set up a construction business building upcycled schools, clinics, and community centers. These savings in construction costs could then be channeled by the community to increase teachers’ wages and bring computer technology to schools. Currently, one of the global successes on upcycling has been the Liter of Light project using a used soda bottle, some bleach, and contact cement to make a cheap DIY daylight through the roof of low income communities around the world. This is upgradable to a 2 – 4 watt LED and solar panel night light which can be used to light up homes and streets for another 10 hours.
Diaz is a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and previously finished the Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was recognized as one of the Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum, Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World by the Jaycees International, and is an Ernst and Young Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2015 he was awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize for non-profit as well as the World Habitat Awards. He has returned to the Philippines to apply and disseminate his research in needy communities throughout the country.
ADDITIONAL READING MATERIAL
Liter of Light webpage: http://literoflight.org
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The Global Urban Lecture series is an initiative by UNI – UN-Habitat’s partnership with universities worldwide.