Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Extramural Research

Featured Story

Thinking "Inside" the box: Innovative Emergency Housing May Help Haiti Earthquake Survivors

Clemson P3 Team researchers have been experimenting with ways to convert shipping containers into emergency housing in the hurricane-prone Caribbean, as well as in earthquake stricken areas. Their project known as SEED, was originally conceived to help recycle more than 30 million containers languishing in ports throughout the world. The containers can withstand winds over 140 mph and exceed seismic codes throughout the globe. After the disaster in Haiti, the team accelerated its research so that their modified containers could be deployed for Haiti earthquake survivors.

Faculty and students believe that their SEED converted containers would provide sturdy, and safe emergency housing solutions to families displaced by disasters. The Clemson P3 goal is to provide relatively quick options for putting families back on their own land, ultimately providing a modified container on site within three weeks of a dislocation. The Clemson P3 team believes that getting people back in their communities quickly will allow people to work on their homes, collaborate with their neighbors to rebuild the neighborhood, and produce a stronger and healthier community.

Many Caribbean countries import more containers than they export, which leads to the surplus of containers in those nations. The Clemson P3 team is currently working with shipping and other companies for donation of containers and the equipment necessary to relocate and modify them for the Haiti effort.

The Clemson P3 team has designed units or pods from recycled materials to be installed inside the containers for bathrooms and kitchens. The team has also developed a basic preparation plan involving a system of cuts and hinges for ventilation and light, and painting and insulation.

The Clemson P3 researchers also plan to use surplus 55-gallon steel drums, for roof top gardens on the container homes, to get food crops started when the ground may be contaminated by storm water. Water also would be filtered through the drums before being used in a bathroom pod comprised of shower, sink and composting toilet.

Come meet the Clemson P3 Research team and see a prototype of this emergency container home at the 6th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., April 24-25th. The Design Expo was created to bring together professional scientists, engineers, and business leaders around innovations designed to advance economic growth while reducing environmental impact. The Expo showcases the innovative designs of the P3 student teams addressing alternative energy technologies, collection, purification and distribution of water, agricultural practices to reduce pesticide run-off, new technologies for green buildings and many more approaches to improve society's sustainability. In addition, it provides a forum for the government, non-profit and business community to demonstrate their diverse approaches to sustainability.

More information on this P3 project: The SEED Prototype - Developing Sustainable Strategies for Hurricane-Effected Areas: Innovative Container Housing on the Island of Dominica

Clemson SEED site: Seed exit EPA

Clemson SEED project Part 1 from field office on Vimeo.

Clemson SEED Project Part 2 from field office on Vimeo.

SEED on WYFF Channel 4

SEED is interviewed on WYFF Channel 4 News in response to
the housing crises in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.
WATCH the video!

Top of page

Jump to main content.