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Unite to Light
updated: Sep 03, 2011, 9:00 AM
Unite to Light is a SB based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with over 50 local volunteers. Its goal is to replace kerosene and other unhealthy, dangerous, expensive and environmentally toxic lighting fuel sources with low cost, safe, reliable and long lasting solar-powered LED lights. The lights created by Unite to Light were designed here on the Central Coast by a volunteer team led by John Bowers, Director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency at UCSB and the holder of 52 patents.
Lights have been sent to 17 countries on 4 continents, with most of the current distribution focused in Africa. In addition, 2,000 lights were recently sent to northeastern Japan for disaster relief efforts. Unite to Light operates through local distribution partners, among them Direct Relief International, through which 1,000 lights, so far, have been distributed in Haiti.
The main lighting fuel used where electricity is either not available or is unreliable is kerosene, which must be bought and is expensive. A family buying kerosene for lighting can save the cost of the light in two months, or less. After that, the solar powered light operates at no cost for long periods of time. All that is needed for years is the occasional replacement of the single rechargeable AA battery, which Unite to Light makes available for $2 or less, provided the old battery is returned for recycling. The light recharges during the day and the power stored in the battery powers the LED at night.
The light, which has been praised by independent experts for the simplicity, elegance, innovation, and durability of its design, was created by a team that included members of Engineers Without Borders, UCSB faculty and students, and experts from the private sector. The organization was incubated within the Institute for Energy Efficiency at UCSB, with the guidance of its Advisory Board and with the generous support of UCSB, which then launched the company to operate independently.
A partial list of contributors includes the Holbrook Science Foundation, The KAITEKI Institute, Inc. (a unit of the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation), the Paul F. Glenn Trust, the Cycad Group, LLC, and student groups at UCSB, Davidson College, and the University of Redlands. Unite to Light has been approved for matching contributions by the GE Foundation.
Professional services are provided on a volunteer basis by a distinguished group of local individuals and organizations, including Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co., CPAs; Stradling, Yocca, Carlson & Rauth, Attorneys; Reicker, Pfau, Pyle & McRoy, Attorneys; Keith Carlson Web Services; Gates & Cooper, LLP, Attorneys; American Silkscreen; Nagy Communication Design and Ryan Newell Information Technology.
Unite to Light owns the rights to the light (patent pending) and arranges for manufacturing and distribution.
Claude Dorais, a local attorney is the President and Dawn O'Bar is the Vice President. With the exception of one
part time employee, and some student interns, all the staff are volunteers.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website or Facebook page.
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