Is Container Living Green Enough?

When you go through shipping container homes you will find a trend in the majority of them that they are recycling and trying not to mess around with the area they are housed in, But is this enough?

Earlier looking at the shipping container house in Maui it hit me how they had added to the area by shading the building at the same time hiding it. What this also means is they had actually brought new plant life to the area as well as the new home.

Which gets me onto the subject of are we thinking enough “out of the box?” as obviously planning permissions and permits are often a headache but wouldn’t being over green actually hide the house and enhance the area making it harder for them to say no?

We are in the middle of a so called green revolution of some description, disappointedly it seems more of a middle class fad of fashion in the UK rather than actually trying to do our bit. Driving 20mins to offload the empty bottles at a bottle bank isn’t exactly helping the environment. In many cases the recycling isn’t even viable or green its more a case of “look we are trying something so give us a pat on the back”.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t have home knitted jumpers with a Greenpeace badge or smoke roll ups. I’m a realist not a green activist. For me its more about downsizing and being less of a consumer than bottle banks and paper recycling. Container homes are a step in the right direction but also have to think we could be doing more for the areas around our new container homes.

Low cost shipping container homes for the Philippines

 They can do it in Mexico so why can’t we do it here in the Philippines?

low cost container home Mexico

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The first issue is not funding but accepting the problem is only going to get worse not better. Reorganizing and developing infrastructure as well as new housing is badly needed to clean up slum areas. There may be land disputes at which point why haven’t the owners cleared these slums and fenced them off? For other areas that are legal these types of units could make affordable homes for the masses due to their flexible nature of being stackable upwards and sideways allowing dense populations to exist without looking like the photo below :-

Tondo slum, a part of Metro Manila.

Nowhere should ever get to this stage in the first place. But the finger of blame should only be representative of things to learn from so that we can move forward and stop it from continuing to happen. There is an influx of constant people to Manila looking for work as well as the birth control issues that are giving Manila its baby boom which no doubt goes hand in hand with high disease rates and death rates. Housing is not the solution but part of it, education is the key to all of the solutions and awareness that things can change. Especially by the actions of many individuals instead of one body trying to help thousands. Take the same area and utilize it the way a container village has been built in Amsterdam :-

shipping container, village, amsterdam  shipping container, village, amsterdam

Its not a quick fix and its not the be all and end all of problems in slums but it could be a step in the right direction. Additions of things like schools within the communities to develop education for those that need it more than most to help not only with basic education but teaching the links between poverty and family size, disease and waste management as well as many other key things that can help people out of poverty. Social awareness of responsibilities of people within a community and forming a real bond within the community to keep it clean and functional. Strict controls on the numbers that can occupy units and enforce it as over capacity living gets things back to square one.

But how do you get people to take action in the first place is my current dilemma as I want to make this happen and would love to be able to start on a small scale project and work towards a large scale slum to village conversion. I have been putting together costs for the last 12 months on materials and equipment to build the first shipping container home as I need a show piece here in Cebu that people can see how viable this is and can be to utilize. I would like to place it in a prime location and be able to invite people in to the home to see the benefits and dispel the myths on shipping container homes.

Its not going to be cheap initially because of the way the Philippines has an insular protective economy to protect the rich. Basically meaning the initial equipment won’t come cheap due to import duties at the same time its value is in the fact we can use it over and over again so this investment would be an initial one and after that will only need maintenance and repairs.

It won’t be an easy step and I have already spent 12 months on this project looking at the viability of it at the same time I need to prove it works to get other people on board more importantly Charities, NGO’s and Governments to make this happen. The initial stage is in our hands to create the first modular shipping container home to show piece the possibilities. After that I am sure even people looking to build a home can see the benefits of recycling containers as homes which also helps the environment.

If you would like to donate to the project please do so at Low Cost Housing Project

Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany

Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany

Another sign that shipping containers aren’t all hippy and moving more into a trend that’s becoming fashionable was the arrival of Tommy Hilfiger at the old Templehof airport in Berlin.

Put together by Artdepartment-Berlin for the Bread & Butter fashion trade show the shipping containers appear almost invisible behind all the signage and graphics which reflects the modern design and up market brand. The other side of this is it makes sense and I can see it becoming more of a trend in the exhibition and shows market as construction on site took 1 day and 3 days of outfitting which is extremely quick for something of this size.

Another step in the right direction of removing the stigma of “ugly shipping containers” to cool and modern.

 

Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany, large graphics, cool graphics

Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany

Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany

Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany

Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany Tommy Hilfiger Shipping Containers – Berlin Germany

Cut down shipping container used for office,reception or guard house.

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Here in the Philippines I often come across new building developments and guard houses on sub divisions with terrible conditions for the guards. Considering they are the first port of call when visiting a site they are also the first image that reflects on a company. At the same time expecting professionalism from workers also comes about by treating them with respect as well. A run down old shack isn’t what I would call a step in the right direction but these converted cut down containers offer a good solid location that offer a functional and practical office space. At the same time once the homes are completed and possibly a new guard house is constructed these units can be moved meaning instead of constructing a shack every sub division development you can physically take a “mobile” guard house/reception with you.

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