Natural cooling is something I will be covering in more detail in the future but I wanted to open up with this concept design which doesn’t look 100% in the garage access for example but the way its built into a hill side does throw up some very good natural cooling abilities. The fact that it appears 3/4 of the modules or shipping containers are underground allows the natural surrounding earth to not only keep it cool during the day but also warm at night. I originally was looking at an underground shipping container in a similar way for cheese making back in 2007 to keep an ambient temperature here in the Philippines. Also constructing inside the hillside does give a lower impact visually on the construction of the home which is also very appealing.
Natural cooling the cheap and beautification way of cooling a shipping container home if you take a look at these photos below which are actually a medical housing centre called Salam Center located in Soba,Khartoum. Using natural materials to form partitions and a roof structure between container units you can get an idea from the photos below how much shade is being given. In the second photo you can see the partitions have created a walkway at the same time keeping the suns heat away from the container units but also allows airflow along the new partition corridor to aid in natural cooling.
This is an idea that I came across while doing an article for my other blog Tropicalhome.net I found this house which is based in India but after looking at its design more closely started to think you could replace the bottom unit easily with a shipping container or 2 x 20ft shipping container units. The design by using wood for the upper decks also allows the weight to be kept down and starts to become a great idea for a shipping container home in tropical areas as you can finish the bottom layer then add the next two layers as your budget allows and as you find materials. The other options obviously with something designed round the use of local materials is the upper decks will be cheaper and easier to source than many other materials but also the use of a lattice side and open planned roof deck means that you get a lot of natural light throughout the day as well as air flowing across the building. All in all would love to see this idea become a reality.
When building a shipping container home its important to look at the initial location and how you can blend and use the environment to your advantage. In this case you will see several green ideas that work very well in using nature to assist rather than hinder. Everything from rainwater harvesting and grey water treatment to using bladed windows on both sides of the container to allow natural airflow and light into the building. Initially the costs may be a bit higher than conventional home building but long term your looking at a home that needs no artificial light during daylight hours and its natural cooling means that air conditioning isn’t needed either. A video well worth watching for ideas on how to build a green shipping container home.
One of the things that often gets overlooked is the cooling systems on shipping container homes and its one of the reasons that puts many people off having one in hot climates. But if you take the picture above you can see the utilization of several natural ways to cool a building.
A- Is using a ducting system to allow hot air out and cold air into a building which could be utilized on a multiple stacked container home by adding ducting to the exterior rear of the building. You will also notice they have added ceiling ducting to help drive the hot air out.
B- As hot air naturally rises you can see from the sketch that creating a vent at the tip of your secondary roof (adding a secondary roof to shipping container homes drastically helps reduce heat build up as it provides shade) helps let the hot air build up out but even this is assisted by the ventilation ducts to help keep cooler air running along the inside of the roof.
C- The one that may seem obvious but I haven’t seen utilized in most of the designs I have seen is vented windows. As you can see the cool air flows into the property while the hot air travels along the ceiling and out.
These may not be ideal solutions in all locations and due to the extra costs of installation I would look at the general wind conditions of where your planning your container home and if this technology will work for the property or not. Another idea if very “breezy” for cooling is using the pitched roof for gathering cold air and forcing it into the property at a low level and thus allowing full use of the roof space you install for cooling.