MANILA, Philippines – Over 2,000 recycled vegetable crates were stacked to build the country’s first green pavilion which opened a week ago at the Rizal Park in Manila.
Built within a week, the pavilion is a 200-square-meter greenhouse-looking structure that displays a variety of green technologies, or technologies which are environmentally friendly in its production process and usage.
My Shelter Foundation, an environmental non-government organization, built the pavilion 20 meters away from the Rizal monument to symbolize the start of a revolution aiming for a greener environment for everyone.
According to the foundation, green technologies are often installed on corporate towers or homes in exclusive subdivisions. Very few Filipinos have access to these technologies because they are expensive.
With the installation of the green pavilion, Filipinos will now be more aware of how to use and create green technologies in their lives.
The green pavilion is open until the June 12, 2013. Since it is capable of being transferred from one place to another, Project Coordinator Architect Rodelon Ramos said they are planning to next mount the green pavilion in Baguio City.
Green technologies on display
One of the displays is a living wall or a vertical garden. It uses a geo-textile planting pocket system meant for houses with no space for gardens. A geo-textile is a permeable fabric used for planting which can separate sediments and protect plants. It is used to help support the herbs, leafy vegetables and other ornamental plants planted on the wall.
Filipinos can also adapt the aquaponics method, which is an integration of aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) and hydroponics (cultivating plants in water). It is a method of growing crops and fish together without using soil.
Other green technologies on display are a rainwater-harvesting system, water purification method, cement water pump system, hybrid power air conditioning, and recycled arts, among others. Hanging bamboo hydroponics will also be put up inside the pavilion in the coming weeks.
Solar bottle light for communities
The green pavilion also houses the foundation’s main project, the solar bottle light under the movement called “Isang Litrong Liwanag” (A Liter of Light) aiming to bring eco-friendly bottle light to communities living without electricity.
Since its 2011 launch, the project has brightened the lives of 70,000 people in Metro Manila alone.
It then became a worldwide movement, reaching as far as India, Indonesia, and Switzerland.
Because the solar bottle light could be used only during the daytime, the foundation’s executive director and founder Illac Diaz told Rappler the solar bottle light has been developed for night use.
The main difference between the solar bottle light and the solar night bulb is in the materials used with the bottle.
The solar bottle light has a mixture of water and bleach in the bottle which illuminates a dark room during the day by absorbing the light from the sun. It is installed by creating a hole at the rooftop of house with the bottle firmly secured in the center. The top portion of the bottle is exposed to sunlight while the bottom half – being inside the house – serves as the light bulb. This bulb needs sunlight to work.
The solar night bulb needs a solar panel in the surrounding area of the top portion of the bottle; LED lights are installed inside the bottle. Because of the solar panels, the bulbs can work at night.
Diaz said he wants to teach Filipinos how to assemble and repair the bulb, including its electronics, for sustainable use and maintenance.
Fighting poverty, energy for all
During the pavilion’s opening, My Shelter Foundation also launched an environmental campaign called “Energy For All,” which intends to fight poverty and provide food, power, shelter, and water for all Filipinos.
Since access to green technology is limited to those who can afford it, the pavilion has a learning center that aims to empower the people who are in most need of low-cost infrastructure by teaching them to create these technologies.
The students of the learning center have a hands-on experience building their own solar light bottles and other green technologies which are easily replicated from locally sourced materials.
(In this video, Diaz demonstrates how to make a solar bottle light with just circular patterns, soda bottles, cement and other construction tools.)
“The way we’re going to do that is to equip students, volunteers or anybody who walks into the pavilion with the technology and, at the same time, ask for their cooperation to help us implement these things around the country, and make these things succeed,” said Diaz in a call for action video released a week before the pavilion’s launch.
Spirit of volunteerism
Volunteers, companies, and equipment suppliers worked as one to build the country’s first green pavilion.
Project coordinator Ramos said that a soft drink company donated 15,000 PET bottles for the “A Liter of Light” project.
He asked for volunteers to turn these bottles into solar bottle lights to brighten the lives of community beneficiaries.
Student volunteers responded to the challenge and taught others how to build green technologies, particularly solar light bulbs.
“We’re teaching people and students how to source the technology on their own. We have people and students who are volunteering to teach them how to do it,” said Ramos.
Other uses for the bottle
Last March 19, 2013, “A Liter of Light” built the first-ever bottle center for the aged in Rizal, Laguna using brick bottles filled with trash.
Aside from this new project, Diaz said they plan to construct a school in Bontoc, Mt Province made from brick bottles.
As the school-building project is not yet in full swing, Diaz welcomes volunteers to build the school. People interested in volunteering for My Shelter Foundation can sign up at www.aliteroflight.com. -Rappler.com
Ces Natalie Crisostomo and Dionisio Pobar III are Rappler interns.