Power for Barangays in the Philippines could it be a reality?

Bio mass power plant in the Philippines

The container structures are pretty obvious as well as the solar water heaters but what may not be so visual is organic power generation. Its not new technology either like most things sustainable its been in Africa for over 10 years.

The interesting thing about this technology is that although watching in the video you can see a very large scale operation. Fact is for Barangays it often doesn’t need to be anywhere near the same scale. Just as important is that remote areas can produce their own fuels which in troubled times as such where the Philippines is seeing earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters a solution can be met if cut off from the world.

Adding to that the very fact its using waste products makes it a very useful solution to areas with limited wealth.

The concept for the Philippines I picked up from JC Greg Solutions although its not a new one the thought is in the right place. But I also believe that keeping the systems small and even better out of politicians hands would be the benefit of the communities in the Philippines.

Is flat pack housing the future?

Its not the latest idea but I do wonder if flat pack housing is the way to go for the future especially if labour costs are critical factors.

Because mass producing stackable wall units and other sections of a home can not only be cost affective but also extremely quick in comparison to traditional housing methods. The same can be said for “unique” homes as you take a standard design and construction method using original flat pack building methods and introduce with it the odd shape or alteration in the design. Which in reality leads to mass produced panels coming off a factory floor while the unique parts go to a bespoke part of the factory.

flatpak,flat pack,house,slot walling

But it doesn’t stop there because when you work with things like a slot wall system where your literally dropping walls in then sealing them up. Your talking a huge saving in labour construction time compared to a traditional home design.

Its things to way up when looking at if you should go down the flat pack route or go with a traditional home. Because on the surface going down the usual routes may seem cost affective but factoring in labour costs and some of the maintenance issues. You may find that the change into flat pack which if they are adapted from industrial and commercial design could have some unique benefits. E.g. easy to clean and maintain, easy access for cable runs etc.

Personally I like both although not a fan of “modern” mass produced housing that you find on estates but do like flatpack and traditional older type houses. Mainly on the older traditional houses as they do have better construction methods but also extremely expensive ones (I am talking houses over 100 years old). With things like traditional oak beams and lath and plaster methods used. But with a carpentry background I do like the unique and original wood.

At the same time understand the world is changing and things are beginning to get expensive. Moving away from what we would “like” and to what we need is going to become more of an issue as time goes on. The same as the materials and resources used in construction. I can see more and more foam injected panels becoming the norm because they are both cheap and efficient. In the same way the outer and inner skins becoming more acceptable as “finished” and quick to install.

Is Corruption Stopping Sustainable Development?

I have put a lot of time in looking at alternative housing construction methods in the Philippines from different angles.

Some sustainable living others more cost related to construction. But one of the major factors in disaster relief I think comes down to corruption especially at ports.

Because a lot of the pricing can fluctuate not only for specialised goods that may see a “special tax” added but also even local construction. Concrete, steel bars etc. fluctuate in price and often without any real reason.

But this gets back to some of the housing ideas for not only container housing but also modular and social development. Because a lot of the equipment needed for foam injected walls for example and a regular supply of the sheets and chemicals involved where do they come from? Importing is a huge headache and I believe the same can be said for many locations that badly need not only sustainable but emergency housing.

By the time you have paid all the taxes and cleared ports how much money disappears? But it goes deeper as you can find charities well aware of the corruption and political issues tied to the money that “helping” brings.

So much so that I believe that its budgeted for and as such it then becomes the norm and almost encouraged. The hidden figures on where your donations go, and an encouraged black market that doesn’t help local populations.

For me its frustrating as I like many others like to create jobs and help places develop. I recently started a call center in the Philippines because I know it can boost local employment. As well as many of the population are already suitable and just need a bit of training.

But you start looking into everything it can mean a bit of grease money here and there to get things moving. Something I am not really prepared to do, don’t mind talking politics over lunch but brown envelops or hush money isn’t the way I do business.

May sound a bit off tangent but the same no doubt goes for people looking to develop housing projects and other large scale operations. Its not all on the surface though which is the problem. As helping locals you try your best and deal with the cards your dealt with. Normally people coming from outside won’t be familiar with local pricing and labour costs and obviously this is an easy thing to manipulate without even trying.


Shipping Container Call Centre.

call centre in a shipping container

A call centre in a shipping container is it viable?

This is an idea I have been looking at lately for expansion for the near future. Its also why I haven’t been so active on the shipping container home front for the blog.

Quite simply I have been extremely busy with other projects one of which is a BPO call centre in the Philippines. The original idea for the call centre work came from my work in Oman where I discovered we were short of certain resources and personnel that could have made life a lot easier. Nothing wrong with the way it was setup and to be fair it was a brand new contract for the division I was working with inside a large company. This was a step away from their usual construction and into the FM industry in Oman. The company is a very large one and is world known for its facilities management but this was a new step in Oman itself.

So how do you get round this and if other countries appear on the radar for similar types of work? They are short-term but could literally be hopping contract to contract for years. The answer was outsourcing to the Philippines.

So when I returned home I built a new office and have been developing the call centre. First issues were not communications or getting the right software but noise pollution. Barking dogs, loud music, motorbikes etc. etc.

Which is why a shipping container call centre sprung to mind. Everytime I have been in a container be it visiting someone’s home or assessing for sale etc. the one thing you notice is the silence. The tropical climate we have here in the Philippines means its hot all day but in the evenings its cold. In fact won’t be needing air conditioning if ventilated correctly.

So would a shipping container call centre work? I believe it not only possible but very likely in the near future here. Because things like the computers could be stored in a secure area at the back of the unit with the large opening doors. While staff have their desks and monitors inside the container unit at the other end. Thus reducing heat build up and also makes it easier for maintenance in a working environment.

If you come across a shipping container call centre please let me know as I would be very interested to hear from others on the idea.

Shipping Container Home–Gainesville,Fla in the U.S.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A Gainesville, Fla., man explains the benefits of owning a home made of old shipping containers. WTLV’s Heather Crawford reports.

Viability of shipping container homes is contested on a regular basis yet we are finding more and more examples of people who have already made the leap into container living. The fact is the negativities people come up with for not living in a container are always sorted out before people who actually “live” in a container home even move in.

Even the look of a home that is seen as ugly by some will find others see it as an industrial look that breaks up the look of the area. In reality a shipping container home because they are primarily built by the people who live in them they aren’t like normal homes. I think there is more thought going into them as profit isn’t the key to the home but environmentally friendly, cost affective and functional. As you can see in the video the guy is more than happy with his shipping container home to the point he has nothing negative to say about living in one.

With house prices still struggling in the recession moving away from borrowing and into cash buying a lot then buying in sections seems more viable for many.

Minimalist or container living is just a joke and fantasy.

Minimalist living or container living can often be shunned due to people not understanding the concept but what is there to understand?

  • Fact is most households have at least 2/3rds more stuff in them than they did over a decade ago.
  • Fact is that costs are going up on not only space but on resources needed to use them such as heating and cooling.
  • Fact is house prices have been spiraling out of control for some time and even right now when people are complaining their houses have “lost value” they are often still way overpriced!
  • Fact is socially people are spending too much time in the home and not enough time amongst real people.
  • Fact is we are in a social decline but it doesn’t have to be that way!

Odd thing is not everything has to be negative. I live out in the Philippines and a friend of mine lived in a very small house after meeting his girlfriend and deciding to partner up. Its 2 rooms for him,her and the children from her previous marriage. The first room is the sitting room,dining room, kitchen and the other room is the bedroom. He lays in bed and can touch 3 of the 4 walls while lay in bed. Showering and general chores are done in a centralised pump area. Is this minimalist living that is impossible?

In reality this is the life for the majority of Filipinos and has been like it as far as people can remember. But its not all doom and gloom as they probably spend a lot more time outdoors than you do. The tropical climate in previous times and in remote areas will find people sleeping under trees relaxing. No issues of getting cold, maybe getting hot. The land was plentiful where people just took from the land what they needed.

In reality I would say judging by what I hear from people that those times were happy times. Going round to the neighbours because its the only house in the village with a TV or even today on some of the remote islands the town hall.

Electricity is something people can and do often live without. The irony here compared to the Western world is that “minimalist” living isn’t a fad but the way of life and has been for centuries. I have never heard anyone complain about space and generally you will find people live together as a family until married. Its not uncommon to find adult children still living with their parents in fact its the norm. Minimalist living is probably done by the majority of people on the planet without the “vocal” minority even realising.

Could you live in a bamboo hut on a tropical island? Because many in the West dream of it yet its a reality in the tropics that people often leave for western ways. Things have begun to change in the Philippines to become more like the West and places like Hong Kong. Not all good news with an over population issue in the cities but at the same time people are still living minimal.

Bedspacers are common which involve renting a room with a bunk bed often with 4 people to a room. Workers, transients and students often live in this type of accommodation.

Odd reading this I wonder how many people are saying “I couldn’t live like that”. But my question is how big does a shipping container feel now?


Shipping Container Models.

I came across these really cool shipping containers made in card on Twitter and had to advertise them (for free of course!) due to knowing others out there would want one or a few as well!

Not only for those interested in things like model railways and haulage, but also its a pretty cool thing to have custom made sitting on your desk. Not sure if the company make custom made ones but sure worth asking!

At only £1.99 each I think they are well worth the money as a cheap alternative to plastic or other model types. The owner and maker of the containers says they look more real than the other types which I could see as being possible due to higher quality printing rather than trying to replicate in things like plastic.

Drop by at http://www.cardcontainers.co.uk and grab yourself a container!

Own A Shipping Container Company?

Advertise your shipping container company on Container Living for a small fee of $20 for a permanent article.

I was sitting looking at the number of emails I get from companies offering me container buildings, custom made containers and other modular structures from around the globe and although they all seem to be wanting to sell me something they forgot one thing. I’m not here to buy!

But if your willing to put together your own unique article I will add a new section into the blog so you can advertise your business and what you do. I can’t say fairer than that as it will have a better response than you spending $20 elsewhere on the planet for advertising.

What is the catch? There isn’t one for the readers they get to start seeing a picture of suppliers from around the globe develop on the site. From our perspective on Container Living we get a lot of unique content and an improved ranking for shipping containers for the website. So its a win for everyone and just as importantly $20 is within everyone’s budget.

If you want a bigger advertisement on a main page slot then its a different kettle of fish but still available but just not for $20. What your $20 will buy though is a permanent link to your website, telephone number, photos and a bit about your business and products. Which is why its important you take the time to create a good article for the site.

Now if your not good at the articles themselves then you can ask me to take a look at your photos etc. and build the article for you. But I think it would be better coming from yourselves as you know your company.

Shipping Container Dream Home.

With a budget of $150,000, Marti Montgomery used shipping containers to build a home on the land she’s dreamed of living on for decades. They had purchased the land during the 70s when it was much cheaper but now looking to take it from lot to a home. Another wonderful example of a shipping container turned into a home.

What do you think about the home is it suited to your lifestyle? Would you live in a shipping container home?