IKEA enters small prefab house market, and it’s solar powered

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IKEA enters small prefab house market

Prefab houses, modular houses, and tiny houses. Why not combine these housing options into a small shelter?

This is a real game changer. IKEA unveiled a solar-powered flat pack shelter for easily deployable emergency housing. That’s the target, but these tiny prefab homes, designed to be mass produced, could also serve as inexpensive home options for people who aren’t in emergency situations.

The designers, IKEA, are well-known for their urban simple, partially-DIY, economical, sometimes ecological, style. This project is a joint venture between the IKEA Foundation and the UNCHR.

These prefabs are going to replace what UNCHR was using before – tents. However, tents don’t provide the privacy or security hard walls provide, and there have been violent crimes at refugee and emergency compounds.

The prefab houses are flat packed — they flatten out for transport. They’re made from lightweight plastic, and have a total square footage of 188 sq ft.

They’re rated for five inhabitants — that’s twice the size of the older UN tents.

And for power, the grid is made less necessary because these prefab houses have solar power, coming from solar panels on the roof. Candles and kerosene are less often required even in out-of-the-way locations. These solar panels on the roof also deflect 70 percent of solar radiation, so the interior is cooler in the day while being warmer at night.

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