In a breathtaking public art installation that melds LED technology with environmental-focused art, CO2LED was created a few years ago for Arlington, Virginia’s environmental initiative FreshAIRE (Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions). Located on the busy intersection of North Lynn Street and Ft. Myer Drive in Arlington County, and designed by artists Jack Sanders, Robert Gay and Butch Anthon, the piece topped 522 rods with solar powered LED lights surrounded by recycled plastic water bottles. Reused materials were sourced for almost every aspect of the project, which emphasized the importance of recycling and renewable energy. A clever form of “artivism,”CO2LED went up in 2007 and came down a few months afterwards, but Arlington’s FreshAIRE is still going strong. You can read about their current initiatives on their climate blog. Pieces like this are important because they make it obvious that cleaner energy sources are readily available, and that with just a little creative thought, we can increase our enjoyment of the world without increasing our carbon footprint.
Speaking of which, here’s a way we can all reuse plastic water bottles in our own homes: make LED luminaries! There are several ways to do this.
For instance, designers YaRan Chang, Hsin Chou Liao, Chung en Lee & Simon Shih created an LED light fixture that houses a color changing LED. The user can screw a crushed plastic water bottle directly into the fixture, switching it out with a new bottle any number of times. The result is an ever-changing lighting fixture customized by YOU!
Another simple idea is to cut the tops off of old plastic bottles, cut patterns into the sides of them and/or add color using translucent paint, fill the bottoms with sand (to weigh them down) and place a battery-powered LED puck light in each one. Safely and stylishly line your walkways or stairwells with your new DIY TRASHformation!