by Lori Zimmer, 06/26/13
IKEA just turned turned its flat pack sensibilities from the urban apartment to the global village by unveiling a comfortable, solar-powered shelter that can provide emergency housing for natural disaster victims and refugees. The flat pack homes were developed in collaboration between theIKEA Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), and they can be set up in a snap to provide immediate shelter for those in need.
Prior to the IKEA collaboration, the UNCHR was only able to provide tents or converted mass-shelters for the influx of refugees into countries around the world. Now, with IKEA’s help, these displaced citizens will not only have privacy and comfort, but the dignity of having their own place.
IKEA’s shelters come flat packed, making for the easy transport of lightweight plastic shelters at once. Assembly of the 188 square foot hut is easy and can be built in just four hours. Five people can sleep comfortably inside, which is twice the size of the regulation refugee tent. The best part, the homes have solar paneled roofing, allowing inhabitants to generate their own electricity, extinguishing the need for candles or kerosene lamps. The roof also helps to deflect solar reflection by 70%, keeping the interior cool during the day and warmer at night.
The new IKEA/UNHCR shelters will make their first be deployed in Ethiopia next month.