Product development focus areas

The new shelter portfolio prioritises environmental sustainability in the following areas:

Longer lifespan

We can reduce the need for replacements if the crisis becomes protracted by designing shelters for temporary short-term responses that can be extended.AdaptabilityWe are designing the new shelter portfolio to be adaptable and upgradeable over time, making it better suited for complex specific requirements. The frame is the system’s foundation, and it is easy to attach locally available materials, expanding the possibility of using the best-suited and most environmentally friendly material based on the specific context. We refer to this as our “incremental approach” to shelter: deploying, upgrading, and upcycling.

New materials and production techniques

We are mapping and adjusting the design to fit with new materials and production techniques with proven scalability and suitability for shelter and a lower climatic footprint regarding Global-warming potential (GWP), toxicity, energy use, or water consumption, among others.

Recycled materials

The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) performed on our current shelters revealed that we can lower our shelters’ global warming potential by increasing the use of recycled materials. Thus, we select easily sourced and readily available materials, including polypropylene (PP), PET (polyethene terephthalate), and steel.

Recyclable materials

In the new shelter portfolio, we use as few unique materials as possible while selecting materials that are easy to recycle. We also make design choices to facilitate recycling, removing the need for separation and providing markings and guidelines for decommissioning shelters.

Energy-efficient production

The Life Cycle Assessment on current shelters has taught us that we could significantly impact the production process using energy-efficient and green energy techniques. The new conceptdesign proposes several changes to reduce energyconsumption, including removing production stepsand reducing material use, as well as selectingproducers and development partners with a trackrecord of using green energy.

Reduced use of raw materials

All our shelters are lightweight (the Relief HousingUnit weighs 148 kg when built). Additional material reductions are made, specifically by reducing the amount of plastic in the new shelter design.

No single-use plastics

We will eliminate single-use plastics in the new portfolio.

From our Global compact communication on progress: January 1 to December 31, 2023