As the world becomes increasingly concerned with the state of the planet and we try to live our lives in an eco-friendlier way, we are seeing that reducing our waste and cutting our carbon footprint are ways that we can all do our bit. And when it comes to changing how we go about our daily lives to become greener, our homes are an important factor.
If you are looking for an affordable and sustainable place to live, then creating a shipping container home could be the ideal solution. Converting a used shipping container into a home is already upcycling something that would otherwise be thrown away, but there is plenty more that you need to do to make it truly sustainable.
Why Convert a Shipping Container?
The job of a shipping container is to carry its cargo around the world, all while protecting its contents. Shipping containers can be transferred easily between different modes of transport, without the need for unpacking, and they are also cost-effective and convenient for everyone involved. This means that they are easy to stack, are heavy-duty, durable and safe and secure.
This also means that they are perfect to be used as a construction material, allowing you to stack numerous shipping containers on top of each other, or join them together side-by-side. Shipping containers give design teams a blank canvas to start from, acting as building blocks that allow you to turn it into your perfect modular accommodation.
Creating a Converted Shipping Container Home
To create your converted shipping container home, there are several ways that you need to adapt it. You would need to start by coming up with the design, including the size and layout of the house.
Shipping containers are available in a range of sizes, including 10ft x 8ft, 20ft x 8ft and 40ft x 8ft on the floor plan, but remember that you can always join them together to create a larger space.
You will also need to consider adding other features, including:
- More manageable doors
- Electricity and lighting
- Water systems
- Insulating lining
- Worksurfaces and kitchen equipment
Making your Shipping Container Home Sustainable
The first thing to consider when looking to create an eco-friendly shipping container home is the shipping container that you are going to use. You can usually choose between a ‘new’ container – or one that has completed one journey – or a ‘used’ shipping container, i.e., one that has come to the end of its life transporting goods around the world. To create a truly ‘green’ home, you really should be using a ‘used’ container, or one that otherwise would be discarded.
When you are choosing your shipping container, you should check for (and avoid) rust or extensive damage to ensure that you aren’t going to run into problems.
Paint and Toxic Chemicals
Some shipping containers have been treated with chemicals to help to protect them whilst they are at sea. To ensure that your shipping container home is truly eco-friendly, you should remove any chemicals and use non-toxic sealer paint to prevent the chemicals in the paint from escaping into the air.
Most shipping containers are made from steel, meaning that they can get hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It is always recommended that you insulate your shipping container well for it to be comfortable inside, but to create a sustainable shipping container home, this is even more important. By insulating it well – including the ceiling and floor – you will prevent the heat from getting in or out, also helping to reduce your energy consumption.
Other Green Changes
Once you have the outer shell of your sustainable shipping container home complete, you can then go on to change some of the things inside, in a similar way to how you would in any other house. These changes can include:
- Using low energy lightbulbs
- Having highly efficient kitchen appliances
- Ensuring that recycling is done properly
- Ensuring that appliances are switched off at the wall
- Harvesting rainwater to use as non-drinking water
- Installing solar panels
Creating a green, sustainable house is more than just building a house from a converted shipping container. Of course, this is a great start, but there is also more that needs to be done to ensure that it has the positive effect on the environment that you are looking for.