Green to the extreme: Shipping container homes

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 16:24

The increasing cost of buying a home, combined with the price of paying for energy has more than a few people looking at extreme ways to attain a place to call home for less. One of the growing trends in the market is structures made from recycled shipping containers. These properties are built from non-traditional materials and allow a potential owner to reduce the cost of owning a home. Here are three examples of people who decided to live in non-traditional shipping container homes and how they made these structures eco-friendly and energy-efficient:
Green residence in Arizona
One property in Flagstaff, Arizona, is notable because it was constructed entirely from recycled shipping containers. Jetson Green Magazine reported that this 2,000-square-foot home features 2 loft bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 office rooms, a storage room and a green house. Made from six recycled shipping containers, the property was designed with long-term sustainability in mind. 
According to the news source, in 2010 the house received an award from the Coconino County Sustainable Building Program. The electrical needs of the house are met by an on-grid solar system, a water harvesting system was also installed that uses gutters to direct water to a pump that sits in the garden. To improve the energy efficiency of the property, spray foam was used to ensure that warm and cool air would not transfer through the walls of the house. In addition, a radiant floor heating system was installed to drastically reduce the amount of energy that is needed to warm the home. The consistent delivery of the heat through pipes running underneath the floors will help eliminate heat loss from occurring. In addition, the sustainable technology is able to boost the comfort felt within the house. 
Vancouver home built from containers
Construction on the very first recycled shipping container home is finally finished. Jetson Green Magazine reported that the property was developed in the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver. The house contains 12 studio units, each complete with a net living area of 280 to 290 square feet. Within this space is a bathroom, kitchen and in-suite laundry that will be used by the Atira Women's Resource Society. The organization wanted to create affordable and quality non-market housing units that will be rented out to older women. This commercial housing space serves a quality purpose - without driving up the cost of living due to energy prices. 
A radiant floor heating system was installed throughout the entire property to provide each unit with a eco-friendly and cost-effective heating solution. The sustainable technology requires less square footage than traditional options that use vents, radiators or baseboard units to deliver warmth. Therefore, those who are renting the spaces are able to use more square footage and won't have to design a room around a bulky utility. By investing in the right solutions, the property management company and the organization that designed this structure have built a sustainable housing solution for women in need.