Casa Alemana, Solar Energy Modular Home

The “Casa Alemana” is a prototype of an energy-efficient house based on the “Solar Decathlon” contest-winning design from the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany. The house demonstrates new, innovative German construction technologies for reducing home energy use by making the most of solar energy. Learn more about “Casa Alemana”. The “Casa Alemana” won, both in years 2007 and 2009, the international competition “Solar Decathlon” promoted by the United States Department of Energy.

For more information about the project you can visit them here at

Installing Solar Tubes

Installing the solar tubes went in easier than expected. There was nothing covered in the manual about flat roofs or U panels but all seemed to fit really easily. At the same time hopefully going to get a bit of rain to test them this week before the insulation goes in. Either that or a garden hose to check for leaks before everything is sealed up.

solar light tube installation solar light tube installation solar light tube installation solar light tube installation

Team China’s Y Shipping Container Home For The Solar Decathlon

Team China’s Y Shipping Container Home For The Solar Decathlon

As I have mentioned already on another post I was impressed with the Chinese design for the Solar Decathlon. The Shipping container Y Container home submitted by Shanghai’s Tongji University embraces cargotecture in a modern way. Not only with the home design shape but also the six recycled shipping container structure also is easy to transport, energy efficient and incorporates sustainable technology.

The design offers up an off grid way of life with three veranda areas as well as an open porch. Wooden screens extend the facade of the perimeter and can be rolled back to open up the interior.

The roof as like many other shipping container home designs utilizes them for photovoltaic panels but what is a little different is the heat build up is transferred into the shipping containers floor for heating as well as heating water. Vacuum insulation has also been utilized to help with heat loss and gain.

The icing on the cake being the Y shape itself, not just a gimmick but it offers up natural ventilation as it can tunnel in air from whichever direction a wind or breeze is available. Hot air meets at the central triangular area where the containers join and is ventilated out while the cool air continues to circulate.

Its designed round cheap home designs for couples in Shanghai. Yet this same design and model could be used anywhere by anyone. I often here critics talking of “I couldn’t live in that” when they refer to shipping container homes but at the same time they aren’t thinking of people trying to get on the housing ladder or people that are looking for a low cost form of sustainable housing. I pretty much love everything the house has to offer, its well thought through and should be a home that goes into production.

Team China’s Y Shipping Container Home For The Solar Decathlon  Team China’s Y Shipping Container Home For The Solar Decathlon

Team China’s Y Shipping Container Home For The Solar Decathlon  Team China’s Y Shipping Container Home For The Solar Decathlon Team China’s Y Shipping Container Home For The Solar Decathlon


Modern but simple house boat – Uboat

First looking at this you can easily see why a shipping container could be used for the central hub of the building. As well as looking into it a bit more to see it can’t only be a simple design but with some interesting uses of technology for electric, water and heating/cooling. Initially house boats seem to be designed to keep the poorer less refined members of public out but this design does actually show it can be sustainable, minimalistic and cost effective.

modern house boat - Uboat by Wyatt Little

The simple design is based on a core unit with a lower deck area which is mimmiced in size by the roof section to allow shade for the exterior deck. On top of that the green roof area of the Uboat by Wyatt Little also offers solar energy to assist in powering the house boat.


modern house boat - Uboat by Wyatt Little

Add to that the geothermic loop to regulate the interior temperature of the property and you have an ambient temperature courtesy of your watered surroundings. Add to that the ability to draw up grey water as well as rainwater collectors on the green roof your water supply starts to become sustainable.

Maybe not 100% practical cost wise but the concept is something that could be utilized in other ways. The deck area with matching roof makes sense for container houses as it would help reduce heat build up as it keeps the heat away from the sides of the core building. Its looking into these ideas, concepts and thoughts that open up new ideas and practical solutions to shipping container homes.

modern house boat - Uboat by Wyatt Little modern house boat - Uboat by Wyatt Little

4 x 40ft shipping container home design idea

When starting to design a shipping container home its always good to have a starting point, an idea from where to build from. I came across this home which has dimensions that doing the build with 4 x 40ft containers would actually give you a bigger home than it but the design throws up a home that is a bit unique and its porch deck area which is another feature that could be utilized doing it with shipping containers is an added bonus. Creating the frame then dropping the containers onto the frame before welding them together would give you a straight surface to mount the containers. Utilizing the roof space as well you can set it up with solar panels and have the house installed with 12v lighting. In fact the house below is running on solar energy and is located in the Mojave Desert. Built by Blue Sky Homes its a simple and unique 2 bedroom home that pretty much offers everything a couple would need.shipping container home idea from desert home

 house design plans container home idea porchdining room bedroom bathroom sitting room balcony house view

Homemade Solar Water Heater

Heating water is often an energy ignored when it comes to solar energy but one of the easiest to create, this system has been done using a couple of old solar panels, obviously no longer working but work great for heating water. You can’t really see what they have done inside the solar panels but there is a grid formation made up of pipes for which the water flows through. I like this video though as it does show how quickly the system can work and how easy it is to form up.

How To Install 12v LED Lighting System For Shipping Container Home.

I came across this video today covering using a 12v lighting system with Solar power to supply its energy and its broken down to make a basic system easy to understand so wanted to share it. Obviously the rig could just as easily be setup with a wind turbine over solar if need be or even combine the two. The system is fairly easy to understand and in most locations you can no doubt buy the system as a kit.