May seem a waste of energy at first but then again if this type of building is utilized for other buildings off it or back to the grid it may actually pay itself off over time for its generator use or payment from the grid.
Portability is also something people overlook when thinking shipping container buildings as well as “solar power is too expensive”. Well for a friend of mine who’s moving to a remote island he doesn’t have electricity there and generally the buildings are traditional bamboo or concrete. Either way building a home will take time, shipping something like this in however would give him a base of operations until things got underway. As well as a place to charge his power tools. Now this shipping container building by Adaptive Container’s SPACE buildings also has the ease of loading and unloading which many other shipping container building manufacturers are still trying to work round the problem. Add to that the solar rack can be loaded and unloaded in around 30 minutes the whole system is practical as well as thought out.
The name of the type of building is called SPACE which stands for Solar Powered Adaptive Containers for Everyone. Which in reality is a 140sqm of workspace with 20 solar panels on the roof that give out 350 kWh of power a month. Air conditioning is also installed as standard so the “its too hot in a shipping container” defeatists will find they are happy at home inside a shipping container that isn’t racking up the electric bill.
I’m pretty impressed with the layout and the Swiss army approach to design with a basic shipping container attached to one of these would make it a more viable option as the “powered” one would give its excess energy to run the other low cost shipping container unit.
During 2005 Stephen Shoup founder of design and build company ding LAB inc. purchased a furniture and woodcarving building they wanted to convert into a live/workspace. This then was outgrown as Shoup became a father so he began developing a plan to increase the space to create more room in the backyard. He created the office using an old retired freezer and a shipping container formed in an L shape.
The exterior of the Shipping container was then covered with cement board panels by CertainTeed as well as redwood. Hidden beneath the exterior panels is a layer of exterior coat insulation. The shipping container sides were filled with batt insulation and then covered with rigid insulation with a radiant barrier.
- Inside the office you will find a drain back water based radiant heating system that is connected up to a 200 gallon holding tank as well as two 4′x8′ solar thermal panels. Cork flooring was used on the interior as well as the walls being covered with reclaimed fir and Homasote panels.
The window you can see in the photo was recovered from a salvage yard as well as the sliding door. Wherever possible recycled materials were used price wise the project came in at around $150sqft.
Finding Shipping Container House Plans
When considering building a shipping container home you should initially start to look for existing shipping container home plans online as many of the issues of construction would have already been covered but also due to the unique modular construction method you can find many designs to suit your needs and space.
Reasons why you should consider building your home from shipping containers are :-
- As a structural building block they are readily available anywhere in the world and it doesn’t take much searching around on the internet for “shipping container for sale” to start seeing results on the costs involved with buying shipping containers to make it more viable.
- Inexpensive and readily available its not hard to come across second hand units commonly called within the trade ISBU (intermodal steel building unit) and prices vary from $1000 upwards although in some locations I have seen them much cheaper (including the UK) but costs will vary due to the size,age and condition of th eshipping container as well as the additional cost of delivery. The added value also of using shipping containers is that your gaining a large working spce of 320sqft per 40ft container which in reality means you have a lockable workspace while construction is ongoing.
- Shipping containers also reduce construction costs on average somewhere around 20% and 50% depending on location.
- Construction time is also heavily reduced as the initial blocks can be placed in a day and from start to finish within a couple of months as much of the pre-cutting can be done before they reach site. E.g the doors,windows,first fix electrics, painting and insulation can be added to the unit before it even arrives speeding up the whole construction process.
- Its environmental to reuse a shipping container as a home as it leaves a smaller carbon footprint than melting down and reforming into another steel object.
- Keeping the sizes and supply within standard ISO shipping containers also means you can design and construct a house easily by connecting and interconnecting the shipping containers.
There are a few disadvantages to using shipping containers for building a home :-
- Always buy with Corten steel or even aluminium as older containers may be suffering from rust issues that may take more work to repair than its worth. But most suppliers will tell you if its grade A – D which gives you an idea of condition before you even visit to view.
- Space issues can be a problem when putting containers into position or pre-working/delivery as well as needing machinery for unloading and positioning.
- The shipping container home design plans should also be in suiting with the existing neighbourhood which is why its worth canvassing your neighbours in advance to get some feedback about the project in case of any objections.
There are many sites on the web now offer shipping container house plans, I would go for something utilizing standard dimensions using the ISO standards and then modify and adjust to your housing needs. E.g adding a porch and landscaping. Also make sure the designs are practical and workable, many I have come across on the internet go to the extreme on design yet your looking for something useable not to win awards for the architect.
shipping Container Home Plans And Construction Companies can be easily found here at this link where shipping container home companies are being added into a directory.
Shipping Container Office
This video runs you through how to convert a shipping container into an office. Watching it you will see a lot of the solutions are very obvious as well as cheap on materials. The important thing to remember its also the fact people don’t think its this easy to do which puts people off. In the near future we will be looking to develop selling these type of units where you can either have one built or literally “buy” and take it with you. This week I am finally going to have enough time to run through a lot of designs I have worked out and start posting them online.
A perfect example of maximising space with a shipping container home and I can see this sort of space being utilized in many towns and cities where people can’t vision something fitting into a gap.
This was built by architects Pieter Peelings and Silvia Mertens of Sculp(IT). Who reside in the containers as a workspace and home. Ground floor being the work floor, 1st being dining, third relaxation and sitting room. Finally reaching the 4th level with great views and a spa. Although not giant at 2.4m wide and 5.5m deep it does give a practical, functional property that slots in to the smallest of spaces.