The Flat-Pack, Solar Powered ‘Better Shelter’

Solar powered Better Shelter

The masters of flat-pack design, IKEA, have developed solar powered emergency accommodation for refugees.

Launched at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference & Exhibition (DIHAD), the flat pack Better Shelter is a temporary structure designed for a service life of 3 years.

It is assembled on site without requiring additional tools or equipment, and can be constructed by three other people in 4-8 hours.

The Better Shelter is 17.5 square meters, free-standing and offers full standing height, durable panels, a lockable door and a strong light-weight steel frame. 71 framework pipes and 35 panels make up the structure, which weighs less than 100 kilograms. The structure is designed to withstand all harsh conditions: extreme cold, extreme heat, sandstorms, rain and powerful winds.

Flat-pack Better Shelter

The solar panel is installed on the roof and charges an included LED lamp during the day. A daily charge can provide 4 hours of light at night and the system also offers mobile phone charging features.

The IKEA Foundation and UNHCR have been working on the design for several years, with extensive testing and development carried out in real-world conditions in partnership with refugees in Ethiopia and Iraq. IKEA says the experiences and needs of the 40 refugee families ” have been at the heart of the development process”.

The IKEA Foundation contributed SEK 40 million (nearly AUD $6 million) to the Better Shelter company to allow it to move from testing to industrial manufacturing, sales and assembly of shelters.

All profits from sales are to be reinvested within the company or distributed to its philanthropic owner, the Housing for All Foundation; a non-profit foundation established by the IKEA Foundation.

IKEA says production of the shelters is about to commence, and later this year UNHCR will start distributing the shelter to thousands of vulnerable families in refugee camps who are fleeing violence, conflict, persecution and natural disasters.

“Better Shelter will ship 10,000 units to UNHCR in 2015 for use by UNHCR operations globally – and that is just the beginning,” says Johan Karlsson, Head of Business Development at Better Shelter.

” We will continue to develop the Better Shelter and also provide other solutions to benefit the many displaced people. Innovation is our strongest driving force.”

Further information: Better Shelter