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Powerful hurricanes and earthquakes have wreaked havoc in the United States and around the world in recent years, often leaving people stranded for months and even years without access to water, food, and shelter. A unique collaborative project at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute seeks to provide a sustainable solution, while also considering the environment.
After a disaster strikes, first responders and other aid organizations mobilize to send needed supplies such as water, food, and medicine. Bottled water is sent by the tons, but all too often, the empty plastic bottles end up in the trash stream.
The goal of the project is to re-use the empty bottles to construct and structurally test different structural components (walls, columns, and roofs) and then design and build a prototype for emergency shelters for displaced populations under conditions of distress. The structure will be approximately 15 square meters in size and will be erected on campus in front of the Greene Building May 5-12.