Not the first shipping container cafe by Starbucks but its still heading in the right direction of recycling shipping containers.
The fact is unfortunately or maybe not? Shipping containers have become fashionably green. Myself its not about being green but more to the fact it makes a lot of sense recycling containers for homes,offices and other buildings. But Peter Demaria who’s part of this project from demariadesign.com said “Due to the trade imbalance with China, millions of containers are left in our ports every year,”. I would like to add this trend is changing rather rapidly with the current recessions round the world. In reality the containers we are seeing stuck at ports may not be so readily available in the future as more goods may end up having to be manufactured at home due to the fact most industries have now gone to China. You can only export so much trade until countries wake up to the fact they need to start developing their own manufacturing and not just rely on cheap imports as it damages the economy.
Recycling the containers though takes only five per cent of the energy that melting down the steel it a beam for example. Often greens will be pushing the fact the containers shouldn’t exist in the first place but in reality they are already here! Lets deal with the surplus as the lowering imports will no doubt reduce the numbers of containers.
Back on to Starbucks new cafe, Mr Demaria has worked on other shipping container building projects already including a house in Redondo Beach, gallery and a condo building in other locations within the United States.
What we are seeing with the Starbucks container building though is a prototype being put together its unique not only in the steel container design but also that it will be drive-up and walk-up only with no space to lounge inside.
And it will be portable, he said, easy to break it down and transport somewhere else. “We see a lot of opportunities here,” he said. “We can put a store like this on a lot that will be developed someday but is free for two or three years, and then we can move it.”
Also Starbucks is looking to the fact it imports tea, coffee and other products into the United States as well as other countries and would like to see the containers not going to waste.
ContainerLiving.net came about to share information about shipping container homes but as I researched more and more it became very obvious shipping container homes are just a small part of the opportunity in constructing with shipping containers.
I have a strong interest in developing nations as well as destroying poverty, one of the biggest problems I have come across over time is misuse of funds on projects that simply shouldn’t have been built in the first place. Shipping containers for schools for example make a perfect solution for many countries especially in places like Haiti that seen many of its buildings collapse when the earthquakes hit. Shipping containers are robust and may even offer a protective pod solution in such an emergency, but more importantly is not going to cause the damage and deaths that other building types did.
The building green issue is always an arguable one as people sit there with a calculator talking distances for delivery and loading/unloading but the other way I look at it is your looking at a hardy module that is going to last with low maintenance and low construction costs. Education is the key to many of the worlds problems as I have found personally living in the poverty ridden country of the Philippines. Talking to people you find very obscure understandings of how things work and causes and solutions of diseases. In reality what kept many of these people alive in the past has disappeared with modernisation and corporate manipulation. Replacing herbal remedies used for centuries with “vitamins in a capsule” or selling baby milk over breast feeding. When it comes to building green its more about shaping minds than the bricks and mortar aspect.
We have seen a cargotecture revolution in the last few years initially with high house pricing that seen people looking for cheap alternatives and now with the recessions same solution is filling the gap with other housing issues. At the same time we need to start thinking of what to do with all these surplus containers for other uses as simply many are going to just sit there and rot otherwise or even worse melted down with a high carbon footprint.
When thinking about green construction and building with shipping containers its worth noting the unique building blocks ability to adapt to many uses and easily be adapted for almost any situation. They are stackable, you can hack big holes out the side for doors and windows as well as use environmentally friendly green insulation, roofing and flooring. Making contact with universities or in the U.S. the American institute of architects and request professionals who offer “green building techniques” you may even get a lot of advice for free or at least be able to get hold of professionals that know what they are doing as well as possibly cutting edge technologies.