Container Homes – Are They For Everyone?

By   October 25, 2016

There are been many articles and blogs on this subject. But have you looked at why container homes may not be the best solution? Until the past few years, shipping containers have been used for the sole purpose of shipping. And then their use extended into storage containers. But for making container homes from them, there are concerns and questions.

Everyone is all about going green. And container homes are growing in popularity around the world. This is a green alternative to housing because it is using empty shipping containers that are doing nothing but taking up space on shipping docks.Why The Abundance Of Shipping Containers?

So the first question is why are these shipping containers not being reused? Well, like most things in the world today, it comes to money. The expense to return an empty container back to where it came from isn’t worthwhile. It is less expensive to buy a new container from the shipping origin. So, this leaves a surplus of empty containers.

This also leaves us with possibilities of an apartment, a home, an office, or even a dorm, a school, etc. What better emergency shelter than an empty shipping container? There is a lot of encouragement in using shipping containers as a green alternative and eco-conscious people.

Container Homes Have Downsides To Be Considered

Like anything else, there are downsides to container homes. Like the coatings used to make them durable for transporting across oceans. These coatings have harmful chemicals and toxins like chromate and phosphorous, not to mention lead-based paint. And the wood flooring takes a beating and absorbs more hazardous chemicals such as arsenic and chromium for pest control.

Container homes are a low energy alternative for housing, or are they? The container has to be made habitable and that alone takes a lot of energy. The whole structure has to be sandblasted and the floors replaced. There have to be openings made using a torch to create doors and windows. And the amount of hazardous waste in an average container can be thousand pounds that something has to be done with before they can become container homes.

When you couple all of that with the fossil fuels needed to move the container to the home site, the ecological footprint gets smaller. Another downside is the awkward shaped and sized living spaces too. And then we look at the added insulation needed, you end up with a long and narrow box that has ceilings less than 8 foot high.

Maybe They Are Not For Everyone

Container homes may not be for everyone, everywhere, but they are a possibility that should be considered. In many areas it may be less expensive to build a structure of similar scale with traditional wood framing.

But where resources like wood are scarce, shipping container homes could make sense. Especially if there is an abundance of containers taking up space on a dock or in a shipping yard. They could be the perfect answer for immediate shelter providing disaster relief too.