As many as 21, 000 shipping containers come to shore in America every day all year long and then are shipped to parts of country by train and truck. An idea of how to use those stockpile of those shipping containers has finally came to be.
These large, strong steel boxes have been piling up and storage is becoming a problem around the country. and posing a storage problem. Looking at shipping containers as building blocks, the modular units are now being used to build homes all across the country.
More Muscle But Less Power Needed
A shipping container is all steel and weighs as much as 8000 pounds. It takes as much as 8000 kwh to melt them down and build new beams or other product from them. But to these shipping containers for constructing a house, only 400 kwh of electrical energy is needed. This process is known as Value-Cycling and takes more “muscle” to accomplish this, but it is the next best thing to Re-cycling.
Each shipping container is 8 feet x 40 feet x 9 feet and they are being sold as finished structural systems for as much as 11,000 per unit. There may be 1 to 2 walls removed and beam enhancements added along with support columns. They are much stronger than traditional framing in houses because of the resistance they have to “lateral loads” such as seen from earthquakes and hurricanes.
Shipping container housing is made of steel welded to steel and the roof on them is strong enough for another enviro-friendly aspect: a green roof. When the right coating is applied to the exterior of shipping container units, they are extremely energy efficient as well. The exterior, referred to as the envelope, offers a reflection around 95 percent to outside radiation and resists interior heat loss, offers an excellent barrier for air infiltration and keeps water from migrating inside.
Improvement Of Shipping Containers Is Possible
One improvement that could benefit a homeowner who uses shipping containers to build their structure is Structural Insulated Panels (SIP’s) for the roofing instead of traditional truss framing. They are insulated very well and can be installed quickly and require less wood in the process than that of conventional roofs.
Because shipping containers are self-supported by beams and stout and have plywood flooring that is marine-grade (meaning resistant to water) in place already, the labor and time used in traditional homes being built is eliminated.