Every freight ship that sails across the ocean has a particular quality: shipping containers. These units, which are sometimes uniform and sometimes not, traffic goods from around the globe. They are the search engine that drives companies in American that have outsourced manufacturing and productions costs to companies overseas.
Some shipping containers have lasted decades. They are wide and spacious. For instance, take the case of the 20 foot shipping container. The 20 foot shipping container is standard on freight ships. It holds 1,150 cubic feet. Its cousin, the 40 foot shipping container 2,700 cubic feet. For reference, that is over 8,400 shoe boxes (the 20 foot holds about 3,600).
Shipping containers can last over 20 years, with proper care and maintenance. This is what makes them profitable for the next venture of shipping containers: housing.
It may be surprising to think of a shipping container as a form of housing. Shipping containers are supposed to be used for transferring goods across a sea or ocean, not providing shelter for someone in need of a house. But there you may be surprised. Shipping containers are fully equipped to become housing structures.
Let’s take a look at durability. Durable, steel shipping containers average a 25-year lifespan and require little maintenance. Whereas job site trailers last five weeks at most, because thin wood and vinyl building materials fail regularly. Container structures are inherently mobile, stackable, durable, weather-resistant, and require no foundation.
They have other great qualities as well. Shipping containers are by design green structures. They are made from 85% of recycled steel and are fully recyclable if demolished. Reusing them saves old business materials.
Shipping containers as housing are produced at half the cost of site built homes and in one-fifth the time. They are built in a factory controlled environment, which uses less materials and 35% less waste than an on-site building. Some modular homes can be built in one to two weeks.
To give an example of how the process would work, consider the standard 40 foot shipping container. Most modular houses that are built out of shipping containers are built out of 40 foot shipping containers. A 40 foot shipping containers gives about 300 square feet in total. Putting four of these in a cube allows for a 1200 square foot home.
They are more popular than people would think. Around 17 million Americans live in modular homes and more could follow. Some experts estimate that there are 24 million shipping containers that are empty and retired on our planet. They all could be used for some type of housing or other device.
One of the most interesting uses for empty shipping containers is the shipping container that is turned into a containerized generator. Containerized generators are used as large power sources for events or for base level power. A containerized generator is about the size of a shipping container.
In fact, a shipping container can be converted into a containerized generator. A containerized generator has enough electricity to power a certain area in the event of strong storm that knocks power out. A containerized generator is also a strong use of the shipping container, as it saves power during disasters.
A containerized generator isn’t the only use for an empty shipping container.
Neither is housing.
Think about hotels. Or office and retail buildings. Museums. Art. Children’s centers.
Old shipping containers can be used for a variety of purposes. Some things that require a roof over your head can be substituted with a shipping container. There are some hotels that are built out of shipping containers, including one in London. There are many retail and office buildings constructed using shipping containers.
There are even some pictures of people using shipping containers for art.
It helps that they are eco-friendly. Reusing a single 40 foot container upcycles about 3500 kilograms of steel and saves about 8000 kilowatts per hour that would otherwise be needed to melt it down. Many shipping containers can’t traffic goods after five years of wear and tear so finding another use for them is helpful in society.
When you’re thinking of buying a new home, it is always possible to contact the manufacturer or custom building designer that can transform a shipping container into your needs. There are many out there: Choose wisely.