How to put a roof over the world's poorest people: Ingenious idea for recycling 700m discarded wooden pallets unveiled'Pallet Home Project' aims to help re-house millions of refugeesA permanent structure can be built by a team of five in a week using 100 palletsU.S. throws out 150million pallets a year
16:13 GMT, 3 December 2012
According to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, there are more than 33million refugees in the world.
On what seems to be an entirely unrelated note, there are 700million wooden shipping palates produced each year in the United States – 150million of which find their way to landfill each year.
But one project aims to bring these two facts together in a win-win scenario: converting those pallets into cheap, environmentally friendly houses which can be deployed quickly – and even turned into permanent homes.
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The future of homes The Pallet House could help the 33million refugees and displaced people in the world
…And with 700 million wooden shipping pallets produced in the U.S., there is potentially an ample supply of materials for the easy-to-assemble home
The homes are constructed out of the 150 million pallets that end up in landfills in the U.S. each year
Creating one permanent home, measuring
perhaps 10ft by 20ft, requires approximately 80 palettes, which are
nailed or strapped together and
lifted into place.
Tarpaulin is then draped over the basic structure, which prevents water
penetration until enough debris, stone, mud, earth, wood or corrugated
metal from the immediate surroundings can be gathered to fill in the wall
cavities and cover the roof.
In areas of severe weather, pallets may
be pre-assembled with styrofoam insulation or a vapor barrier to help keep the structure safe.
The project won a Honorable Mention in a competition to design
transitional housing for the returning refugees of Kosovo, and the
Project says that a team of four or five people could build a house
using nothing more than hand tools in the space of a week.
A 250 square foot house can be constructed using 100 recycled pallets and five people within a week
As a temporary shelter, tarps draped over the structure prevent water penetration until enough locally available materials are gathered to fill the walls and cover the roof
The makers said: 'The Pallet House project was initially conceived as a transitional
shelter for the refugees returning to Kosovo after the war.
needed an immediate alternative to the typical tent solution that could
potentially transform into a new permanent home over time, even without
access to sophisticated tools and materials.
'It has since become our
aim to also develop the project as a more permanent housing solution to
serve not only refugees in disaster stricken areas but also as a
modular, prefabricated solution to affordable housing everywhere that
can improve people’s lives, the environment, society and even inspire
greater diplomacy among the various cultures of the world.
'Pallets are versatile, recyclable,
sustainable, easily assembled and universally esthetically pleasing.
They are readily available in most countries and their transportation
cost and weight is negligible when used to carry shipments of clothing,
food, medical supplies or other relief aid.
'A simple pallet structure evolves
naturally from emergency shelter to permanent house with the addition of
more stable indigenous materials like rubble, stone, earth, mud,
plaster and concrete.'
Home from home: The Pallet House can easily become a permanent structure, and could be deployed in developing countries
Pick a style: The homes can take many forms, and be built by hand in less than a week
VIDEO: Construction of a Pallet House: