Build Green: The Shipping Container House

three level shipping container houseMulti-level shipping container house.

Creating a shipping container house, if you are looking to build a home, is to make an environmental difference. These houses have begun to pop up all over the globe from Minneapolis to Redondo Beach, from Romania to Hong Kong.

Very little added material, beyond the recycled shipping containers, is needed to build such a building, making the project green. Recycled materials can be used for insulation, for roofing, and flooring. Even the swimming pool can be made of a recycled shipping container. The flat roof usually used on this type of house can feature a roof garden to emphasize the environmentally friendly design.

Each year a million shipping containers go into surplus at ship yards and other storage locations all over the world. The problem is especially acute at ports used heavily for shipping to and from China because the trade deficit has many more containers coming in than are going out right now.

The first step to building a shipping container house is to locate an architect or a contractor who is using that kind of process.

Check with your local chapter of American Institute of Architects (AIA) or building association for professionals who advertise green building techniques and have LEEDS (environmental) certification.

Gather your design ideas and meet with the building professional to develop a plan. The design professional will do cost estimates. The building of a container home should cost from 20% to 50% less than a traditional custom-designed house.

The container walls can form the sides of the house. The steel or aluminum siding can be left in the natural state, or repainted. Doors and windows can be cut out of the sides and ends. The inner walls can be cut out when larger spaces are needed.

Containers are economical, ecologically sound, and easily available. They can be purchased and shipped with very little time required to get the materials in place. They can be put together quickly on site. A shipping container house can be attractive for those who like a simple, modernistic style, when the work is directed by a competent design professional.

Building with shipping containers

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