There are many reasons why more and more people are choosing to buy a shipping container and convert it into a temporary or semi-permanent building. The fact that they are strong and robust, versatile in their uses, can be moved between different sites, and can give you a high degree of design flexibility, are all important factors.
However, two of the main reasons why a lot of people choose to convert a shipping container is because they can be cost-effective and eco-friendly.
Compared to building a brick and mortar building, a conversion is a great, cost-effective option. Of course, like most building projects, you can go wild on your spending, but there are other ways that you can create your construction without breaking the bank.
To be able to inhabit a conversion you will first need to ensure that it is properly insulated. Its metal construction means that the walls and ceiling are great at conducting heat – so it can easily be lost from all sides. This not only means that it can be hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but also that your heating costs will be extremely high. The cheapest way to do this would be with an insulating lining to the walls and ceiling.
Another basic that you will need would be doors and windows. You can, of course, use the heavy-duty access door as designed, but a smaller personnel door and several windows are less cumbersome and easier to use – as well as giving you some of that all-important natural light.
Depending on what you are planning to be doing in your converted container you may want to install lighting and electricity. This allows you to power machinery, appliances, heaters – as well as see properly! The most cost-effective – and convenient – way to do this is to install the electrical system whilst it is in the fabrication stage.
Other features can also be added during the fabrication process, such as built-in racking and professional painting that will be cheaper to be done at this point rather than afterwards.
Sustainable Shipping Containers
Converting a used shipping container is a great eco-friendly solution to your construction needs.
It is essentially a unit that has been upcycled into a building. They are built to transport cargo around the world, built to withstand the most adverse weather conditions and rough seas, and are often thrown to waste when they are no longer usable. So instead of it being dumped into a landfill site, a container can be given a new lease of life as a construction.
When you get a (or several) units, you will be given the choice of a used or new. ‘New’ will have been used just the once (and in truth, will have more trips in it) whereas ‘Used’ will be replaced, and therefore prime for upcycling (and, consequently, the eco-friendlier option).
Insulating is probably the single most important thing that you can do to make your converted container as green as possible. Of course, there is the insulating lining option, but you may wish to also look into insulating or cladding the external walls with something thicker and maybe adding plants to the roof for extra thermal effect – and to boost the local eco-system.
Where you put your unit is also important. If you put it in the shade, you will help to avoid direct sunlight, wind, and protection from cold, helping to keep your heating and cooling costs low.
In addition to these measures, there are many other things that you can do to keep more sustainable and eco-friendlier – which also applies to non-shipping container constructs. These can include:
- Using low-energy lightbulbs
- Using water-saving showerheads and toilets
- Reducing waste and recycling as much as possible
- Turning off appliances when not in use
- Ensuring that lights are turned off when not in use
- Using locally-sourced materials for furniture
Converting can be an extremely cost-effective and sustainable way to construct. However, it doesn’t stop there, the way that you kit it out as well as inhabit it is also very important.