Shipping container houses increase in popularity

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 15:08

Choosing building materials for a new home can prove to be stressful when one is presented with the overwhelming number of objects from which to choose. Environmentally conscious individuals opt to construct new additions or homes from recyclables, crafting walls from refurbished wood or insulation from old newspapers. However, there currently exists a large market for people who build living spaces from recycled shipping containers. These small compartments can be transformed to feature separate rooms and incorporate popular design trends including rooftop solar panels and radiant heat flooring. Containers can also be stacked or combined to craft additional space for the home.

Boathouse in Ireland

With assistance from two homeowners currently living in a repurposed container and SnapSpace Solutions, a company dedicated to providing these types of homes to buyers, an Irish citizen recently constructed a boathouse from two recycled shipping units. The home, which is currently parked in the Brooklyn marina, was built to survive in a marine environment and floats on a large barge filled with plastic cylinders and foam. Steve White, owner of the boathouse, plans to live in the building with his wife during the year, then rent it out for the summer. 

White told Jetson Green that he chose to construct his home from shipping containers for several reasons, including the fact that they are environmentally friendly and require only a minimal investment to make them habitable. In addition to utilizing bamboo flooring and natural light, the home installed radiant heat flooring for warmth.

Miniature home

Cargotecture, a leading manufacturer of container homes, features a small shipping house that encompasses only 650 square feet. The prefab home contains a kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom, living room and lofted sleeping area. Solar power energizes the home, and windows let light flow through. Additionally, walls and compartments open up to the outside world, allowing for maximum air circulation and potential shade during the summer months.

Homeless shelter

One single 40-foot shipping container has the potential to provide shelter to 16 homeless people, according to the Campbell River Housing Resource Center. Its new initiative aims to provide small living spaces to individuals without homes, complete with heat, light, hot water and beds. Potential residents would be able to stay in spaces from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and could bring along personal belongings and small pets. At the end of the row, bathrooms and a small office are available for individuals to visit should the need arise.