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Students help to solve a real-world crisis


Student pedaling a bicycle generating power. A bicycle can run the unit’s generator as a back-up to solar power.

May 15, 2017 – Last fall, students in Associate Professor Daniel Hindman’s Green Building Systems course were challenged to design sustainable housing units for use in Middle Eastern countries taking in Syrian refugees. Their mission was to create a prototype for a cost-effective, practical, simple housing unit that could be shipped overseas and quickly assembled. Two student teams focused on the structure itself, a third team designed the interior and furnishings, and a fourth team worked on energy sources for the building unit.

To accommodate the typical needs of Syrian refugee families, the house designed for a four-person family can fit up to 10 people. Other features include a reversible tarp covering that can either insulate or deflect heat depending on the season, solar power with bicycle power as a back-up, flexible fold-up furniture, and an easily packaged but stable foundation of concrete blocks. The total cost of materials and shipping the 12-foot-square unit is $4,837. The students plan to investigate grant funding to carry their design to the marketplace to help mitigate the refugee housing crisis.

Read the full press release.

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