July 18, 2013

Ikea solar powered shelter can last 10 times longer than a refugee tent and could cost $1000 in mass production

The best shelter we can usually offer the world’s tens of millions of refugees is a tent. Ikea has designed a cheap, solar-powered hut that only takes four hours to assemble but offers refugees more protection and privacy. It is a steel frame with Porta potty plastic panels and solar power on the roof.

More than 43 million people--globally--live as refugees or "internally displaced" (refugees within their own countries), having fled home due to "a well-founded fear of persecution" of race, religion, nationality, or socio-political membership. Right now, 3.5 million of them live in UN-provided tents, says Per Heggenes, CEO of the Ikea Foundation.

Canvas UN tents that start to disintegrate after about six months. The new Ikea-inspired shelters are built to last 10 times that long. They’re twice as large as an old-school refugee tent, at 17.5 square meters (fitting five people comfortably) and take about four hours to assemble.

They currently cost $10,000 to make, but they’re hoping to get that price down to less than $1,000 when they’re in mass production. The tents cost half that, but they hope to have the cost even out, given the long life of the shelters

The flat-pack house comes in four boxes weighing more than 100kg

Visible Good has a Rapid Deployment Module that can last 10 years and costs about $15000

The Rapid Deployment Module is a small building designed to provide safe, insulated, securable, semi-permanent shelter in disaster-stricken areas.

Comprised of just 40-odd pieces, it can be shipped and assembled quickly and easily without the use of special tools or skilled labor.

* Hard walls, locking doors and windows provide security and safety
* Lightweight wall and floor system produces a comfortable, well insulated interior
* The unit sits on adjustable feet, keeping the floor off the ground and away from insects, vermin and minor flooding
* Lightweight roof is vented, and the shade fly provides passive-cooling and heating
* Set up does not require tools or hardware
* Sets up with 2 people in about 30 minutes
* Multiple configurations include the base unit, showers, latrine, and complete living unit (none of these require any tools to assemble)
* Units can also be attached to form larger spaces

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