In the previous article we discussed the current environment of the energy needs of displaced communities. We continue to focus on both the communities on the move and communities who live in camps, and under various environmental variations seen across the world. We search deeper into the requirements from the energy requirements mainly since the delivery of other basic needs like water, food, medicine and security depends on the energy availability. The reliable access of energy for lighting is also still at around 11%[1]. Chatham house model further discusses the energy use in cooking and lighting [2] for your further reference.

This article focuses on thermal space conditioning. Out of the energy needs, most difficult to cater and least talked about is space conditioning. Heating and Cooling takes up large amounts of energy even when we look at the optimized circumstances. Therefore, with the limited supply of energy in the camps and along the way from place to place the heating and cooling requirements are usually not met. But this aspect is important for the wellbeing of the people.

 Heating can be provided through firewood (biomass), oil, gas and coal options which need to be obtained from the providers. (It should be noted that access to these sources are also very limited). People (mainly women) have to travel long ways to collect the firewood which is the most common option. There is always a risk when it comes to firewood burning due to lack of protection around the flame and the emissions accumulating in small spaces[1]. The health impacts leads to a large number of premature deaths.

 Cooling requirements on the other hand, are more difficult to handle. Under the hot climate conditions the demand for water also increases. The best way to keep the spaces cooler is through better envelopes of the temporary constructions and other options like cooling boxes. While providing for adequate ventilation the structures should incorporate improved materials to keep the heat away. [3][4][5]. We will further discuss these structures in a future article.

 ”There is not a tree in sight in the camp that houses more than 14,000 refugees.” This was said in an article way back in 2011 about the Ali Addeh refugee camp in Djibouti . “Djibouti is hosting approximately 26,331 refugees from Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea and Ethiopia, of which 21,119 reside in camps.” says a recent article in 2018. Therefore, the number of the refugees in the area has only increased leading to re-opening of Holl-Holl camp (a second camp that was closed in early 2000s). Another aspect is that the communities in need are not just the people in the camp but also, the surrounding communities which have become vulnerable. Therefore, the actual needs of the surrounding communities should also be taken into account when accounting for response required.  "I’m now 29 years old with children of my own and most of my life has been spent in a refugee camp, I did not choose to be here, I was forced to be here. It is getting harder and harder to have hope that my children and I will leave here. I don't want to die here. Not knowing your future is the hardest part." - Amina Ahmed Barre, a Somali refugee, reflected on her experiences in Ali Addeh, having arrived with her parents in 1991 [6]. This is just one of the examples from a particular region. There are hundreds of other locations facing unique issues.

 The reason we push for more sustainable energy solutions is the uncertainty of global response to the ongoing crises. The world has shown very little signs of reaching resolutions. The number of displaced communities have grown in the past years and on top of that the natural disasters have become more and more threatening. Therefore, the reduction of costs for solar power generation, better integration methods for wind energy, hybrid energy systems will play a key role in enabling access to energy for displaced communities while science, technology and innovation can be used to improve structures and mobility.


[2] Lahn, G. and Bradley, S., 2016. Left Stranded?. Extractives-Led Growth in a Carbon Constrained World. Chatham House.

[3] Crawley, D.B., Hand, J.W., Kummert, M. and Griffith, B.T., 2008. Contrasting the capabilities of building energy performance simulation programs. Building and environment, 43(4), pp.661-673.

[4] Barreca, F. and Tirella, V., 2017. A self-built shelter in wood and agglomerated cork panels for temporary use in Mediterranean climate areas. Energy and Buildings, 142, pp.1-7.

[5] Dabaieh, M. and Alwall, J., 2018. Building now and building back. Refugees at the centre of an occupant driven design and construction process. Sustainable Cities and Society, 37, pp.619-627.