Living Inside Pallets? Affordable Pallet Homes Now An Option

Two architects, Susan Wines and Azin Valy, wanted to rebuild homes for refugees in Kosovo using recycled materials. It was hard to decide what materials to use until Wines tripped over a wooden pallet. She decided to try making pallet homes.

About 21 million wooden pallets are dumped into landfills around the world. The architects said they could house over 210,000 refugees with their pallet home design. The design is built in only a few days using power tools. The pallets would come from products shipped to the country and recycling the wooden pallets.

The homes are 100 to 300 square feet in size. Many have sleeping lofts, tables, and furniture made from pallets and a deck outside to sit on. A 250 square foot home needs approximately 100 pallets to build it. The cost of these homes are $500 to $3,000. Wines hopes they can be used in areas with refugees or people who need quick housing.

Homes have been made of pallets before because they are usable and easy to recycle. They come in standard sizes around the world. In 2008 two students from the University of Vienna designed the Paletten Haus using pallets. It won the 2008 GAUDI European Student Competition on Sustainable Architecture.

This house was made out of pallets and was modular and energy efficient. It was affordable for low income housing. The student designers went to South Africa to design a unit that would be 11 square feet. In this home, two layers serve as the walls and ceiling and sunscreen for shade and ventilation. Insulation, plumbing, and support are put in-between the two layers.

Insulation used is recycled material often cellulose, blown spray foam, or straw. The interiors have pallet walls and windows that are installed and sliding glass doors. To build a 655 square foot home over 800 pallets are used. This is another are of the country the pallet home is being used.

Wooden Pallets overview

Shipping pallets have found a prominent place all through-out history as reliable transportation structures for stably supporting goods while being processed and moved by crane or a jacking device. Pallets can be found in many different shapes and sizes and can be made from a variety of materials like paper, metal and plastic although they’re most commonly constructed from wood.

Most pallets fall into one of two broad categories, stringer pallets or block pallets. A stringer pallets structure consists of three or ore pieces of lumber called stringers which the top deck supports are attached to. These types of pallets are generally less sturdy than block pallets and are by design better suited for forklift transportation.

Block pallets are constructed with both parallel and perpendicular stringers to create a stronger structure. These types of wooden pallets are better suited for long transportation.
Shipping pallets are most often constructed from wood but come in a variety of different materials. Softwood pallets are the cheapest and are often discarded as trash after a job has been completed. Hardwood pallets or block pallets are often returned to the sender or sold after use.

Wooden pallets have taken the place of a lot of containerization because of the decrease in expense. Most wooden pallets are capable of supporting nearly two thousand pounds making them a light and efficient way to support and transport large quantities of goods. There are companies nationwide that provide customers with the ability to choose what kind of pallets and the material they are made of and have them delivered at job sites.