If energy needs to be saved, there are good ways to do it.
                                                               Government product regulation is not one of them

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Let the Sunshine in!

A real "energy saving light" is the big bulb in the sky...

As already seen,
in the political quest to save energy and emissions, light bulb regulations are a token measure for politicians to show "they are doing something".... at least doing something for the lobbying light bulb manufacturers who clearly want to sell more profitable bulbs!
Society energy measures are presumably about society energy savings:
and the society energy savings, from official US Dept of Energy stats and surveys as well as from official EU data, are a fraction of 1% as referenced.
Certainly, there can be greater individual household light bulb savings from some frequently used bulbs, but again on overall household energy usage consideration, it's down to around 1% or less, as referenced above - and indeed, as well covered for both the USA and the EU on the Greenwashing Lamps blog mentioned here, Energy Stats section.

Of course, even the last drops of energy can still be saved, at least during daylight hours, by using....yes, daylight!

Halogenica's last blog post "Solar lighting solutions" (http://greenwashinglamps.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/solar-lighting/) is well worth a look in that regard.
As she says, "To focus on something other than the bulb issue for a bit, here are some great solar lighting solutions".

The Greenwashing Lamps blog has 4 examples:

1. Hybrid Solar Lighting
This is about fiberoptic lighting - remember all those fiberoptic lighting tubes as table decorations a while back - and just needs one 9V battery per week. A standard flourescent tube takes over when it begins to get dark

2. Solar Tubes
I am particularly intrigued by this one, bigger tubes leading light around the house...

3. Solar Bottle Bulbs
of which more below...

4. Solar Powered Light
with various examples, including how you can make solar powered garden lights work indoors.

Returning to the third one, bottled light, I had also come across this and meant to blog about it sometime.
That is, as the videos show, the idea of using big transparent (2liter) water filled plastic bottles inserted into corrugated iron roofs, to spread the light around below...
The video on the blog shows how

The 2011 Reuters report that I saw, goes into the background of how the lighting was developed...Phillipines "eco-entrepreneur" Illac Diaz is apparently behind it, at least in making it widely available - it seems to have originally been thought of in MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

Transcript (as they wrote it):

In the slums of Manila, an innovative project is shedding light on the city's dim and dreary shanties. Plastic bottles jut from the roofs, bringing light to the dark dwellings below. The technology is as simple as it could be. Each bottle contains water and bleach. When placed snugly into a purpose-built hole in the roof, the home-made bulb refracts and spreads sunlight, illuminating the room beneath.

Eco-entrepreneur Illac Diaz is behind the project.
"What happens is, the light goes through the bottle, basically a window on the roof, and then goes inside the water. Unlike a hole which the light will travel in a straight line, the water will refract it to go vertical, horizontal, 360 degrees of 55 watts to 60 watts of clear light, almost 10 months of the year."

The initiative, known as "A liter of light", aims to bring sustainable energy practices to poor communities, an idea originally developed by students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The bottles are designed to emit clear light for about five years, as the bleach prevents algae from building up in the water.

For Erlinda Densing, a mother of eight, the technology has made a big difference to her small home.
"'That's only water?!' my neighbours were asking. 'That's only water!' I said to them. Basically, the sun's rays are really bright. A lot of neighbours came and got curious. They were like, 'can we see? can we see?'. Maybe they also wanted to have lights installed. 'It's really bright,' I said."

The device can be built and installed in less than an hour. A sheet of corrugated iron serves as a support structure to hold the bottle in place, and prevent any leakage.
"Liter of Light, lights up the house, saves a lot, but at the same time improves the standard of living across the board, of the bottom 90 per cent of this country."

Working with low-income communities, local governments and private partners, the project has installed more than 10,000 bottle lights across Manila and the nearby province of Laguna. Rey del Mundo is a volunteer.
"This is very important. Because at present, we're too dependent on fuel that we don't produce. Although we have some local production, it's not sufficient for our needs. So if we strive to develop alternative sources of energy, which are the energy sources, this will help our country a lot."

For residents, it means less money spent on electricity to power lights during the daytime, and more money on food. While for Diaz and his volunteers it's quite simply a bright idea.

// Gemma Haines, Reuters //

... yes a bright idea, not just for tropical regions.
While perhaps otherwise impractical in ordinary light-controlled living conditions of developed countries, the idea (or similar) might be used in sheds, warehouses, prefab buildings and so on.
They seem to spread the light better than ordinary skylights, at least per unit roof area. In that way, and being more elegantly and purposefully made from scratch, they could even be better from a security point of view than larger transparent skylights.
Unfortunately, as with many simple solutions, it is probably not a "cool" solution even in the exemplified situations, that people in developed countries who are not determined eco-geeks would care to adopt!


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