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.