Updated on February 29, 2024


Created on August 27, 2015

Emergency Floor

Upcoming Update

Modular, interlocking, and lightweight emergency floor system.

Developed By
  1. Every Shelter
Content Partners


Product Description

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).

Target users are Millions of refugees fleeing conflict that are forced to sleep directly on the ground.

Target SDGs

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Household, NGOs

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Every Shelter in partnership with USAID, UNHCR, and GVC-Italia

Competitive Landscape

Direct competitors include Synthetic Sleeping Mat and Viva™ Thermal Sleeping Mat.

Manufacturing/Building Method

Mass produced

Intellectural Property Type

Trade Secret

User Provision Model

End users receive the Emergency Floor as a refugee-assisting technology from emergency/disaster relief organizations. Relief organizations may procure the product via Emergency Floor or Every Shelter

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

Primary materials


Complimentary materials

The floor is placed on pallets

Fire Resistance (hr)


Thermal Insulation Capacity


Compressive Strength (MPa)


Suitable Climates

All climates

Design Specifications

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.

Product Schematics

Technical Support


Replacement Components

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. The designer partnered with Better Shelter (a refugee shelter project supported by the IKEA Foundation) and the Development Innovation Ventures at the United States Agency for International Development to perform pilot testing in Sweden and in refugee camps.


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

“Our Work”, Every Shelter, accessed on February 29, 2024, https://everyshelter.org/our-work/

“Emergency Floor”, Every Shelter, accessed on February 29, 2024, https://everyshelter.org/emergency-floor/

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

Other Information

Every Shelter, represented by 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 US Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standard Crowdfunding Campaign  

Social media - Every Shelter Facebook site

“About us”, Better Shelter, accessed on February 29, 2024, https://bettershelter.org/about-us/

“Development Innovation Ventures”, USAID, accessed on February 29, 2024, https://www.usaid.gov/div

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