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Building Solar Lights

Build Academy and Liter of Light teaches people all over the world how to Build Solar Lights for people living in underdeveloped areas where there is no affordable solution to get energy and lights.

  1. Course Number

  2. Classes Start

  3. Classes End

    Jun 15, 2020


1. Introduction to the Building Solar Lights Challenge

1.0. Introduction to the Building Solar Lights Challenge

1.1. Call for Action to Bring Sustainable Energy to All

1.2. The Life of 1.4B People with No Access to Energy

1.3. The Liter of Light Experience in Bringing Solar Lights to All

1.4. Open Call for Partners for Achieving the UN SDG#7

1.5. Resilience by Design's next Goal on Clean Energy for All

1.6. Liter of Light and Build Academy #SEforALLforum in NY

2. The Success Stories of Liter of Light

2.0. Introduction to the Success Stories of Liter of Light

2.1. Liter of Light in Brgy Dilam, Calayan, Cagayan, April 2016

2.2. Liter of Light in Mangyan, Luzon, Philippines, July 2016

2.3. Liter of Light in Porac, Pampanga, March 2016

2.4. Liter of Light in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, Feb 2016

3. Building Solar Lights Tutorials

3.0. Introduction to Building Solar Lights Tutorials

3.1. Building Solar Lantern Tutorial

3.2. Building a House Light Tutorial

3.3. Building Street Lights Tutorial

4. Precedent Studies

4.1. Introduction to Precedent Studies

4.2. Precedent Studies Assignment

4.3. Submission Guidelines

About This Course

Architects, engineers and other professionals must take action in the development of sustainable cost effective ways to help under developed areas live better. Designers have the opportunity to propose innovative solar light solutions that can provide light in times of darkness, helping people all over the world live in better conditions. We need to take action now.

The goal of this online course is to generate designs for cost-effective sustainable solar lights for people living in underdeveloped areas where there is no affordable solution to get lights. The participants in this course will design affordable and easy to build lights, which will be implemented by Liter of Light and partnering organizations. They will work in teams of architects, planners, engineers, and social workers from all over the world. After the course, a selection of the projects will be placed the Build Academy website, so anyone can download and use them.

Course Structure

1. Welcome and Introdcution to the Course.

2. Precedent Studies.

3. Light Design Assignment .

4. Solar & Energy Saving Design Assignment.

5. Building Techniques and Midterm follow-up.

6. Final Design & Submission Guidelines.

7. Final Review Guidelines .

Learning Objectives

Course participants will learn about the design of solar lights and how it can be implemented both in rural and urban settings. They will improve their design and collaboration skills, working with a global community of professionals from all over the world. They will be learning from each other, and they will present their work publicly each week and receive feedback from the professors and fellow students. The work will be done in teams, which will work together on developing integral projects that include aspects of architectural design, structural engineering, building technology, social space, community development, economic feasibility, sustainability and resilience.


The involvement in the course is flexible. For architects, this is meant to be an intensive design studio course, so participants are expected to dedicate 10-20 hours a week. For others, who act as advisors and collaborators, it could take 5-10 hours of work weekly.


The course includes multiple-choice questions, design assignments and a group project.

Certification and Credits

Course participants receive a certificate from Build Academy after successful completion of the course. The course will award 20 CEU credits by the American Institute of Architects CES.


The course work will be collaboration between people from many different backgrounds: design, engineering, economics, healthcare, social studies. They will join their knowledge, skills and energy to design solutions that are resilient, feasible, sustainable, buildable, etc. For designers, previous architectural experience is highly recommended. We suggest the course to professionals, graduate students, and last year architectural students. For non-designers, we are looking for social workers, economists, policy makes, developers, business people who can integrate their knowledge and skills with the work of the designers.


UN-Habitat, Kenya

Practical Action, UK

Solar Living Institute, USA

Purpose, USA

Course Staff

Course Staff Image #1

Illac Diaz

Illac Diaz is a former corporate executive who has since gone on to establish several foundations that provide sustainable solutions to societal problems. He is the executive director of MyShelter Foundation, a non-profit organization which has been engaged in improving the lives of many Filipinos through the creation of sustainable solutions for using recycled materials for the building of clinics and classrooms in rural areas.

Diaz holds Masters in Public Administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. He also completed 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. He has returned to the Philippines to apply and disseminate his research in needy communities throughout the country.

Course Staff Image #2

Ami Valdemoro

Ami is a social change agent, health advocate, and innovator intent on empowering others to improve the quality of life in their communities. She is keenly interested in leadership development and how to use digital media to advocate for social good. She has lived and worked in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia, and each time she takes on a new endeavor she is more convinced that the challenges that perplex us are also opportunities for young people to change things for the better. She have built health projects and programs from scratch; advocated for stronger health policies with a consortium of civil society organizations at the United Nations; advised social enterprises on how to scale up their initiatives worldwide using digital technology; and led social businesses in the Philippines in their growth phase to ensure a sustained impact of their social investments in education and livelihood.

Course Staff Image #3

Ivan Shumkov PhD

Ivan Shumkov is a New York based architect, entrepreneur, professor, scholar and curator. He is a pioneer in online education and founder of the BUILD ACADEMY, providing professional education for the building industry. He graduated with masters degrees from ETSA Barcelona, University of Florence, and Harvard University GSD, as a Fulbright scholar. He earned his PhD in Architecture in 2009 at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Columbia University GSAPP, as fellow of the Fondation Le Corbusier. Dr. Shumkov has taught at NYU, Harvard University GSD, Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Parsons the New School for Design, International University of Catalonia, and ETSA Barcelona. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard Alumni Association 2011-14 and as founding president of Harvard Architectural and Urban Society Alumni 2008-14. Dr. Shumkov is a licensed architect in Spain and Italy and principal of ISA – Ivan Shumkov Architects, a company working in the fields of architecture, urbanism, landscape and design with offices in New York. He has worked, lectured and exhibited his projects and research in Europe, Brazil, Colombia, China, and the USA.

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