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Insulating instant windows in disaster areas

Thought up by humanitarian Wendelin Federer and designed by Reto Togni, Instant Windows are an affordable and insulating alternative for broken windows in disaster areas.

Conflict, terrorism and natural disasters have a significant impact, not only of inhabitants of a city or country, but also on their homes. Commonly made of glass, windows are one of the most fragile parts of buildings and usually the first thing to break.

Especially areas plagued by conflict usually don’t have the resources to replace broken windows. While a broken window may seem like a small problem, depending on the climate and the situation, they can render homes uninhabitable and making the residents more vulnerable.

Instant Windows aim to provide an easy to install and inexpensive way for affected populations to replace broken windows. The system consists of two layers of polyethylene sheets, connected by stronger latches, providing air insulation. The latches have been designed so that they can be folded flat in order to roll the material for compact storage and delivery. Zip-lock mechanisms on either side of the material ensure that the latches are kept at a 90 degree angle.

The windows are designed to be easy to install. The material can be cut to size using a pair of scissors. Cutouts in the latches indicate where to cit the material and offer a little taper on the ends to make the sealing of the air pockets easier. The sealing can be done with a strong adhesive tape.

The Instant Windows offer better insulation than traditional temporary board solutions, like rugs, carpets or wood. Additionally, the material is translucent, so while not providing a view like glass, the material lets in light.

Photos: Instant Windows