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green design, eco design, sustainable design, Better Shelter, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, solar powered flat pack shelters, refugee shelters, IKEA

IKEA’s innovative solar-powered shelters were first introduced in 2013, in a prototype alternative to regulation refugee tents, which are not only small but also do not provide privacy for the families inhabiting them. IKEA’s shelter could change that by providing refugees fleeing from violence, conflict, persecution and natural disasters, a space that is safe and dignified.

Related: IKEA Unveils Solar-Powered Flat Pack Shelters for Easily Deployable Emergency Housing

The flat-packed plastic shelters are easily transportable, can be assembled in just four hours and provide families with their own space. The roof features a solar panel, enabling the family to produce their own electricity, and to not use candles and kerosene lamps which can be a hazard in the fabric refugee tents. The shelters also deflect 70% of direct sun rays, helping to keep the interior cooler.

With the success of IKEA and Better Shelter’s field testing, the UNCHR has signed on to an initial commitment of 10,000 shelters. Production will begin this summer, and immediately be shipped out world wide to refugee families in need. Each of the shelters is expected to have a life expectancy of three years of comfortable, private living.

+ Better Shelter