Rainwater Harvesting system for refugee camps through W.Giertsen Hallsystem AS

Master student Christoffer Sæther Sørensen conducted an analysis of the NG1 Hallsystem user interaction from production to assembly, with the goal to suggest a new concept for future hall systems made to be more autonomous and sustainable. The NG1 is produced by W. Giertsen Hallsystem AS in Bergen, Norway. The hall systems under study are deployed in many scenarios including disaster aid and at refugee camps world wide. This project was a master thesis during autumn 2012 at the Department of Product Design, NTNU, with Johannes Sigurjonsson and Nils Stensrud as his supervisors.

Based on a study of W.Giertsen Hallsystem AS, their products and their different user groups, a RWH-system has been developed. W.Giertsen produce relocatable buildings made of PVC fabric with either a steel or aluminium skeleton. These buildings are often deployed at refugee camps and also within the early days after a disaster has struck.

The use of rainwater harvesting (RWH) is a well known practice throughout the world. Based on many reasons this technology has seldom been used in disaster aid. An important hinder has long been the bulkiness and cost related to storage of rainwater. From a political point of view, this technology has often been viewed as less viable, even amongst water professionals.

With a simple add-on for the hall systems RWH is now made available where it otherwise would not have been taken advantage of. Both after a disaster and in a more stable camp-setting, rainwater can be a valuable asset for increasing the availability of potable water. The concept is adapted to fit the strict demands on efficient logistics and ease of assembly. Daily operation has also been a key topic.

To make a RWH system function efficiently in these settings it is crucial that a good connection between relevant user groups and the product is made. The importance of getting experience with the relevant context and end-users during the design process was made clear through this project. Field studies where made locally in Bergen, Norway, to get experience with the challenges of assembly and daily operation, and proved to be a valuable substitute for field studies in a disaster zone.

Please contact Christoffer at christoffersepost@gmail.com if you are interested in this system or process.



About Brita Fladvad Nielsen

I'm a Postdoctoral researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. My focus is on Smart Energy Communities in urban settings as well as design of energy-devices for emergency settings and design for humanitarian markets, especially for refugee camps in rural areas of Africa. I blog about my research approach Design Thinking on www.designthinkingresearch.wordpress.com and about humanitarian design at www.designforselfreliance.wordpress.com . I am also a mother of a child who is deaf, and I blog about her language development on Aurorasittsprak.wordpress.com
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