Recycled Paper Prefab Home Offers Shelter for Refugees and the Homeless

Prefabricated house made from recycled paper could hold the key to affordable, green housing
Apr 5, 2010 3:16 PM ET

Recycled Paper Prefab Home Offers Shelter for Refugees and the Homeless

It’s called the Universal World House, or the Wall AG, and although it may not look like much, this eco-friendly, earthquake-proof and easy-to-assemble home could be the answer for affordable shelter in impoverished and war-torn countries. It might also be a glimmer of hope for millions of people in need of shelter in America.

Created by Swiss designer Gerd Niemöller, the Universal World House comes with built-in plumbing, 8 single and double built-in beds, shelves, tables and an open veranda. The inside walls are designed with honeycomb air vacuums that act as insulation and support for the entire home structure. The coolest part: the home is made from a material called Swisscell, which is composed of recycled paper and cardboard, and altogether it weighs less than 1,800 pounds (the equivalent to a VW Golf)! Oh, and it’s also rain resistant.

An article in the UK Times Online says that more than 2000 homes have been ordered by a Nigerian company, and “development aid agencies are considering whether the houses could be used to accommodate those fleeing from the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe. South America, too, is interested.”

The goal of the Universal World House is to get itself manufactured in Germany, and then shipped to countries around the world that need it the most. The only problem may be its $5,000 price tag, which is cheaper than most homes, but still out of reach for many people.

I think that this is a great idea, but I hope to see it made more affordable in the future. What do you think? Add your comments to our blog. is dedicated to our users. We focus our attention on changing the world through recycling, waste-to-energy and conservation. We reward our users for their sustainable behaviors on our website, through our Greenopolis Tracking Stations and with curbside recycling programs.


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