Exel Composites has been selected to provide lightweight, durable, composite shelters to refugee families around the world.

 The UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) has placed an order of 10,000 shelters with the social enterprise Better Shelter as part of a collaboration between the UNHCR, Better Shelter and IKEA.

The shelter is composed of a lightweight composite-reinforced steel frame, roof and wall panels, floor covering and a solar energy system. Special attention has been given to transport volume, weight, easy assembly, price, safety, and comfort. The expected lifespan of the shelter is three years. Prototypes were field-tested by refugees in Ethiopia and Iraq.  

Assembly of Better Shelter prototype, Hilawyen Refugee camp, Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, July 2013. Photo: © R. Cox
Assembly of Better Shelter prototype, Hilawyen Refugee camp, Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, July 2013. Photo: © R. Cox

10,000 families

Better Shelter was started by the Housing for All Foundation, a non-profit foundation established by the IKEA Foundation. The aim is to bring dignity and safety to the millions of refugees fleeing violence, armed conflict, persecution and natural disasters.  

 ‘Around 10,000 families will be provided with Better Shelter this upcoming year and that is just the beginning,’ said founder Johan Karlsson.  

‘At Exel Composites we are honored and humble to be part of this important project, addressing one of the most difficult situations facing humanity today,’ said Kari Loukola, SVP sales and marketing of Exel Composites. 

This story is reprinted from material from Excel Composites, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.