Think Outside the Box: Four Shipping Container Housing Ideas
Shipping container homes are a hot trend. They fulfill many needs and desires, including home-building on a budget, living simply and reducing clutter, being friendlier to the environment and many others. Recycled steel containers that have reached the end of their usefulness for transporting goods around the world serve as the perfect foundation for some truly unique residences, and they are quite practical.
Shipping container homes are fireproof and easy to maintain, and they can be constructed just about anywhere. They are also very secure and easy to lock up when you leave, and they can easily move with you. Since they’re designed to be stacked when used in the logistics industry, they can even be used modularly to create large residential spaces with multiple floors.
With more than an estimated 30 million unused shipping containers around the world, they are widely available and remarkably inexpensive. In fact, you can pick up a nice one for around $2,000. And there are a lot of great ways to turn these simple steel boxes into cozy homes. Let’s climb outside the box and take a look at some unique shipping container housing ideas.
Housing shortages for low-income populations are a huge problem in many U.S. cities and in nations around the globe. With the cost of building materials on the rise and space at a premium, it has become increasingly difficult for developers to create housing that is safe and affordable. Thanks to a surplus of gently used shipping containers and a bit of creativity, however, it is possible to address shortages of affordable housing without breaking anyone’s bank.
According to Rod Newman, owner of Eco Box Fabricators, it costs half as much to build an apartment using shipping containers as it would cost to do so using traditional building materials. And that is why he is using these logistics industry staples to create affordable housing in the Salt Lake City, Utah, area. The containers can be used to develop affordable housing solutions in other parts of the world as well. Since they can be stacked, it is possible to build several units without taking up a lot of acreage, making them ideal for areas where real estate is at a premium.
While shipping containers are built to last approximately 30 years in the shipping industry, most are retired much sooner. Since many only see about 10 years of actual use, millions end up sitting dormant. For people who are interested in more sustainable living, converting them into homes makes sense, as it recycles them rather than letting them go to waste. It also provides a way to build a new home in a manner that is much more environmentally friendly than using traditional building materials.
Shipping container architecture is typically regarded as a sustainable, green or eco-friendly type of construction because it focuses on upcycling or recycling used shipping containers that would otherwise become piles of discarded steel. By recycling these containers, of course, builders also need less wood, brick and other building materials. This drastically reduces the energy costs associated with building a home.
Shipping container homes can be built in a matter of just a few weeks, and communities can be planned and developed over the course of several months. Homes can be designed with eco-friendliness and sustainability in mind. By building small and insulating well, it is possible to create homes that are highly sustainable and have a minimal impact on the environment.
With many colleges and universities enrolling more students than they have room to house, dorm shortages have become a serious problem. While it would take several years and millions of dollars to build new dormitories using traditional building materials, creating dorms using repurposed shipping containers costs significantly less and requires much less time. Wenckehof, a student village in Amsterdam, was built using 1,000 recycled shipping containers and provides safe, comfortable housing for many of the area’s students. While originally built as a temporary housing experiment in 2006, it has since been given permanent status due to its popularity among students.
Each container at Wenckehof features a living space, a bathroom and a balcony. Renting one costs significantly less than renting a traditional flat in central Amsterdam, and students are afforded more privacy than they have when living with a flatmate.
More and more cities and colleges are embracing the trend of using recycled shipping containers to add student housing. Because they are so affordable and widely available, they are a perfect solution when additional housing needs to be constructed quickly.
If there is one trend that is just as big as shipping container homes, it’s tiny living. Tiny homes are popping up all over the world, as people seek to reduce clutter and simplify their lives. Used shipping containers provide a perfect foundation for building a tiny home because they already have the right structure and can easily be modified. They can also be stacked if one container is a bit too tiny for your liking.
Converting a shipping container into a tiny home takes less time than building one from scratch, and since you are reusing materials, it is good for the environment. Shipping containers are also durable, watertight and weather-resistant. This makes them ideal for constructing homes that are fireproof and able to withstand inclement weather, flooding, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Shipping container housing is a big trend right now, and it is one that is likely to continue to grow. Widely available and much cheaper than traditional building materials, they serve as the ideal framework for many construction projects. Whether you are interested in building a tiny home for yourself or a large community for students or low-income individuals, shipping containers can help you meet your goals.
PS: Did you enjoy this article? Here’s a similar one if you’re making plans in this direction.