While enjoying the comfort and loving warmth of our home, we rarely think of people who are out there in the cold weather, without having a shelter or a blanket to keep them warm during the night.
Most people feel sympathy for the homeless, but it is not enough to keep them warm. Actions speak louder than words. There are over 3,000 homeless people in France, and this winter, the temperatures were shockingly low.
Therefore, a French engineer, Geoffroy de Reynal, MSc in Energy Engineering, got an innovative idea to help these people- a pop-up igloo that can be easily erected to comfortably fit a person.
He was working as a quality manager on wind construction sites, and the terrible conditions in France made him want to rescue the homeless and use his technical knowledge to tackle this social issue.
Testing was done with nine Igloos distributed in squats around Bordeaux, France, and people who have tried them did not want to leave. These shelters kept people safe from the wild nights outside and protected from theft and violence.
The igloos are made from polyethylene foam, covered with aluminum foil, and both layers protect from the freezing temperatures and keep the igloo around 15° warmer than the temperature outside.
They are private and compact, repairable, recyclable, and waterproof shelters. Moreover, they absorb body heat and solar lighting to naturally raise the temperature inside.
De Reynal used his own money to build the first igloos this winter, and afterward, he started an online crowdfunding campaign for which he received around $20,000.
“Using my resources and the money from the crowdfunding campaign, I built 20 igloos prototypes this winter and distributed 10 in Bordeaux, and 10 additional in Paris.
I was living abroad in Montenegro for a year, and there are not many people living outside there. When I came back to France, I was surprised by the number of homeless in the streets, so I decided to come up with an idea to help them.
I am not trying to replace emergency accommodations. I am just trying to make life a bit less difficult for homeless people. Having one of these igloos does not mean that you are not homeless anymore.”
Their inventor plants to make them larger and place showers inside as well, and he intends to create thousands of igloos by 2020. Once more, Geoffroy de Reynal showed that change starts with us as individuals, and we can all try a bit more and achieve much higher goals.