‘Flat pack’ emergency shelters to save lives

Posted on 06 Dec 2017 and read 553 times
‘Flat pack’ emergency shelters to save livesPeople displaced by natural disasters such as hurricane Irma could benefit from recyclable plastic shelters developed by researchers at the University of Bath and Frome-based plastics company Protomax (www.protomax.net).

They have teamed up to design — and test the performance of — re-usable shelters for people whose homes have been destroyed. The Storm Board emergency shelters are made from recycled waste plastic, which can easily be reprocessed and used again.

They are similar in design to ‘flat pack’ furniture and come in a variety of colours; they can be stored for decades on pallets and are easily deployed in emergency situations. Each shelter measures 3.6 x 4.8m, and several could be linked together to form a larger structure.

David Coley, lead researcher and professor of low-carbon design at the University of Bath, said: “From the milk bottles to the ice-cream tubs that we throw away each day, waste plastics could provide a recyclable-shelter solution to people who have been left without a home.

"By using waste plastic to construct these shelters, we are not only helping to put a roof over people’s heads but also playing a part in reducing the impact of waste plastic.”

Nico Stillwell from Protomax said: “Storm Board has the dual purpose of cleaning up the environment and providing shelter where it is needed.

"The concept of a mobile ‘factory in a container’ to produce Storm Board where it is needed — for example in a refugee camp, using local resources and manpower — is also being developed and tested in conjunction with the University of Bath.”

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