Wood-pallet House
Wood-pallet home construction

Volunteers work on the kitchen of a wood-pallet home in a Miami, Fla., shanty town.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Architectural firm I-Beam Design came up with the idea of creating homes out of wood pallets as an affordable and eco-friendly solution for disaster relief housing. They first designed the pallet homes as an entry in a contest to solve housing problems for refugees in post-war Kosovo, but you can also use pallet wood to create something more permanent.

Used wood pallets are readily available and cheap. A small 10-by-20-foot (3-by-6-meter) shelter would cost around $500 and require about 80 pallets [source: Embrey]. It's easy to imagine combining several of these small shelters and reconfiguring them to form a unique, energy-efficient home. And if you do decide to remove the building at any time, the materials are easy to recycle.