Shipping Containers: The New Eco-Homes

Reader Contribution by Zoe Clark
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People around the world live in concrete or brick and mortar structures, jam-packed in labyrinths of streets and neighborhoods. With the current unforgiving economic climate and shabby situation on the housing market, many people can only dream of purchasing their own home. It has been this way for some time, but recent years have brought a breakthrough housing trend that is sparking attention worldwide: shipping containers.

Photo by Angel Schatz/Courtesy Flickr.

Finding Your Comfort Zone

At first, people moving into shipping containers were regarded either as ahead of their time, or simply nuts. But now, the opinion is shifting, and one can’t ignore the plethora of benefits these steel boxes provide. Shipping containers offer a chance for an innovative lifestyle, free from the daily routines and problems the traditional home owner is faced with.

Many businessmen are also turning them into permanent offices, and whole districts of container businesses are emerging around the world. Entire neighborhoods in cities are transformed with shipping containers supplied by companies like Royal Wolf, giving urban societies a new chance at rapid growth and development. So, what’s the catch?

To begin with, the simple and recyclable nature of container architecture is eco-friendliness at its best. A cargo unit turned home involves minimal processing and you are doing the planet a great favor by recycling it.  Also, the traditional home is associated with long and costly building processes, something a shipping container doesn’t require.

Furthermore, you can assemble your new haven in much less time than a house, and the best thing is you aren’t sacrificing your convenience at all. Many people aren’t aware that these unconventional homes can provide a level of comfort and coziness that can compete with any traditional home. Anything that you can install in the latter will fit into the former, with one big difference—flexibility.

Building Green Neighborhoods

Electric installations, insulation, heating and cooling systems—all the basic living requirements are there, but much more than that the possibility to customize. The modular nature of containers allows for extensive modifications and stunning design possibilities. And don’t let the looks fool you, containers are very durable and weatherproof. Their internal isolation and rugged external structure make them a great long-term housing option.

Photo by Martin Deutsch/Courtesy Flickr.

You aren’t even tied to one place, but bear in mind that you can’t just pick your home up and put it where you please. You still need permission from local authorities and solid foundations to place your container home on. With that in mind, it’s true that it’s possible to transport them with unprecedented ease. So, if you don’t like new neighbors or are ready for a new location, moving is easy!

Moreover, it’s easy to install solar power options and create the sustainable energy consumption. For added sustainability, introduce things such water tanks to collect and filter rainwater. Create an off-grid home that is independent of regular sources of energy and take the blessings Mother Nature generously offers.

Switching to alternative energy sources not only shows respect for its kindness, but you will also be kind to yourself and your finances, to be more precise. And as I chatted with a local company to inquire about container homes, I realized that there’s no need to hesitate—a new, exciting and eco-friendly lifestyle is here for the taking.

Freedom in a Box

Homes of tomorrow are self-sustaining, practical and cost-effective. When it comes to these characteristics and the functional versatility, shipping containers are second to none. The beauty of it all is that these homes are fully customizable and allow for a strong personal touch. There isn’t much more that we can ask for than our own mobile shelter that enables us to experience the freedom of modern living like never before. Who would have thought that thinking outside the box will mean being prepared to live in a steel one?

Zoe Clark is an environmentalist, home decorator and DIY enthusiast from the land down under. When not obsessing about designing perfect homes, Zoe is spending time with her family. You can find her on Twitter.