The Emergency Floor is a low-cost flooring solution for refugee families. The system uses leftover shipping pallets to elevate the polypropylene floor mat. The modular mats use recycled materials to provide a safe, warm, and clean floor for use in refugee shelters. The design aim is to minimize waste by re-purposing materials available in refugee camps (pallets)
Distributors / Implementing Organizations
Every Shelter in partnership with USAID, UNHCR, and GVC-Italia
Intellectural Property Type
User Provision Model
Distributions to Date Status
Every Shelter has delivered 5,000 emergency floor tiles to Lebanon in late 2018. The quantity covered 250 households, according to the producer.
Unit dimensions (cm)
50 x 100 cm
The floor is placed on pallets
Fire Resistance (hr)
Thermal Insulation Capacity
Compressive Strength (MPa)
Provides protection from parasitic infections, flash flooding, waterborne diseases, and freezing ground conditions. Emergency Floor is designed to be installed over top shipping pallets or sandbags to give families an extra 15-20 cm of distance from the ground. The company has developed a custom washer that allows the floors to be secured to any substrate. The Emergency Floor is comprised of polypropylene tiles that are assembled to cover a desired area. Tile dimensions are 50 x 100 cm. The Emergency Floor is rated to be fire resistant.
Unknown. The shipping pallets that separate the flooring from the soil should be readily available in most refugee camps.
Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters
Emergency Floor claims that they have found their product is an 'effective insulator' and can reduce the use of heating fuels by about 20% or 220 USD/ shelter (based on use in a UNHCR Family Shelter) as it retains heat in the bottom 75 cm of the shelter where families lounge and sleep.
Vetted Performance Status
A previous investigation about housing, heath, and happiness, performed in 2008 in undeserved communities in Mexico by researchers from the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan found that replacing "dirt floors" with a "firm floor" would lead to a "78% reduction of in parasitic infestation, a 49% reduction in diarrhea, 81% reduction in anemia, and a 36 to 96% improvement in cognitive development among young children." The investigation also proved that maternal satisfaction and mental health had a positive impact.
No listed hazards. Complies with US Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standard - S571.302 STANDARD No 302 – FLAMMABILITY OF INTERIOR MATERIALS. Specified as <4.0 in/min - Pass
Complementary Technical Systems
Overhead shelter, such as a tent or plastic structure.
Academic Research and References
Cattaneo, M., et al., 2009. Housing, Health, and Happiness. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 1 (1), pp. 75-105.
Compliance with regulations
Complies with US Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standard - S571.302 STANDARD No 302 – FLAMMABILITY OF INTERIOR MATERIALS. Specified as <4.0 in/min - Pass
Every Shelter, represented by our CEO Scott Key, was selected as one of 12 social enterprises into the Praxis Nonprofit Accelerator 2021. This program equips top ventures as they seek the redemptive edge in their industries. USAID has selected Good Works Studio (now Every Shelter) for a $150,000 USD grant to implement the product. First Place, Design Like You Give a Damn; Finalist, USAID Development Innovation Ventures; Laura and John Arnold Foundation Award