After a natural disaster strikes, repairing or rebuilding a home can take years. And in times of need — like when there’s no roof over your head — speed is of the utmost importance.
Back in 2011, in response to the devastating tornado that hit Streator, Illinois, a team of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chapman designed a sustainable, modular home that could be set up in just a few hours. (Amazing, right?) That year, their design — called the Re_home — took home several awards and placed second in the prestigious U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.
Flash forward a few years. Now, this school project may be put towards real world use. As the University of Illinois wrote in a recent newsletter, with the help of nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity, Re_homes will be set up in Gifford, Illinois, a community that’s still picking up the pieces after a monster twister ripped through the town this past November.
MORE: How a Tornado-Stricken Town Became a Model of American Sustainability
Re_homes are affordable, safe, and even environmentally responsible. As Mother Nature Network reported, they are tricked out with solar rooftops and have energy-saving features such as tripled-paned windows, a conditioning energy recovery ventilator (CERV), and a solar shading canopy.
Habitat for Humanity is reportedly still working out the details of these homes, but once they go up, it will certainly allow for towns like Gifford — and perhaps future disaster-stricken areas — rebuild and recover.