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A comprehensive analysis of container vs prefabricated emergency shelters for post-disaster reconstruction in Damascus

Khaddour, Lina; Obid, Rania; Yeboah, Siegfried; Osunsanmi, Temidayo; Elhassnaoui, Ismail


Rania Obid

Siegfried Yeboah

Ismail Elhassnaoui


The escalation of both natural and man-made disasters globally has led to profound challenges for nations grappling with the aftermath, particularly in the provision of post-disaster emergency shelters. These shelters hold critical significance in disaster risk mitigation and resilience efforts, serving as essential havens for displaced individuals amidst the environmental and socio-economic repercussions of calamities. Despite their significance, post-disaster shelters have faced criticism due to their substantial cost requirements, prolonged construction timelines, inadequate thermal comfort standards, and limited community involvement.
This study conducts a comparative analysis between two types of temporary housing, namely prefabricated and container shelters, utilized in refugee camps in Syria following the conflict. Employing a comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach, the study evaluates the performance of these emergency shelters, both sharing the same base area. Energy/carbon analysis and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) calculations were conducted for these shelters. Utilizing the Integrated Environmental Solutions Virtual Environment (IESVE) software, the study assesses the energy performance of both shelter types. The analysis of embodied carbon revealed a marginal increase of 3.89% in the container shelter design compared to prefabricated structures, with values of 2133KgCO2 and 2050 KgCO2, respectively. Additionally, operational emissions for container shelters were observed to be 28% lower than for prefabricated designs, recording 336690KgCO2 and 470505KgCO2, respectively. Moreover, the total cost for prefabricated shelters was determined to be 33.61% higher than that for container shelters. Overall, the comparative LCA energy/emission and costing approach revealed that shipping containers have a reduced environmental impact and lower cost implication compared to prefabricated emergency shelters of similar design.
The recommendation and the criteria developed in this research can serve as a decision-making tool aiding the selection of suitable post-disaster emergency shelters across diverse affected regions globally, incorporating considerations of climatic zones and design parameters.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (Published)
Conference Name the International Conference on Advanced Technologies for Humanity (ICATH 2023)
Start Date Dec 25, 2023
End Date Dec 26, 2023
Acceptance Date Dec 20, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 3, 2024
Publisher Springer
Book Title International Conference on Advanced Technologies for Humanity (ICATH 2023)
Keywords Post-disaster, Reconstruction, Energy, LCA, Simulation, Sustainability
Public URL