Are Container Homes Eco-Friendly Homes?

What are the environmentally-friendly aspects of a shipping container home? There are quite a few — from the use of fewer materials and resources in their construction to the fact that they’re incredibly long-lasting.

There’s also the fact that shipping containers can be relocated quickly to places where people are in desperate need of housing. For example, after natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes.

That positive facet of container home living may not appear on most lists of eco-friendly housing. It should, though, due to the efficiencies built into the process of locating containers. That is to say, the handling systems and the infrastructure — cranes, ships, trains, etc. — in place to move them from one place to another with speed and efficiency.

Even better, areas that are prone to natural disasters can prep for them beforehand by using containers to house residents.

“The units are capable of meeting or exceeding hurricane codes in Miami-Dade and seismic codes, like in California,” says David Cross of SG Blocks.

According to The Spruce, the building materials used in container homes “are also resistant to many of the problems that plague traditional wood-frame homes: fire, mold, leaks, and wood-boring insects.”

“Certainly termites and other varmints aren’t interested in steel,” Cross says.

What Makes Container Homes Eco-Friendly?

Another environmentally friendly — or at least efficient — aspect of container home living is that these homes can be built in locations that are traditionally unsuitable for housing. For example, container homes can be embedded on steep hillsides of propped up with support beams on extreme slopes where the land is not used (or can’t be used) for other purposes.

There’s also the fact that reusing something — e.g., a recycled shipping container — rather than building something new is also inherently enviro-friendly.

Plus, consider that a storage container can be retrofitted into a tiny home without the need to harvest timber that might typically be necessary to build something from scratch.

“Shipping containers are left abandoned every year,” writes Sara Barnes at MyModernMet.com. “By using them for a dwelling, you’re repurposing steel and giving it a new life. In addition, your recycling cuts down on other materials like concrete or bricks.”

Affordability, Arrangeability

The folks at Sundog Structures, who make container homes, bring up a good point, too. Container homes are affordable, which means more money left over for other things.

“By saving money on property fees and construction, you can invest more money into making your home comfortable, eco-friendly, and technologically-advanced,” they write. “You’ll have more money to spend on ‘green’ appliances, which will allow you to live a more environmentally-friendly life, without breaking the bank.”

Another overlooked aspect of building shipping container houses is that they can easily be arranged to take advantage of natural light to make the living space warm and inviting — or cool and inviting. In fact, managing heat and cool spaces inside a tiny house is easily accomplished. 

Finally, as fully modular units on a plot of land, these green buildings make the best and most efficient use of the available square feet. Interior finishes can be just about anything, too!

Finally, container homeowners can also utilize tried-and-true measures to make their container home even more eco-friendly. For example, residents can install rainwater collectors, build compost heaps and grow their own veggies.

Container Stop

As we’ve written elsewhere on the Container Stop blog, “the tried-and-true methods of energy and resource conservation work just as well — sometimes better! — in a container home.”

Container homeowners can also add:

  • Solar panels
  • Low-flush toilets and showerheads
  • Ceiling fans
  • Tankless water heaters
  • LEDs
  • Insulation

And because of a container home’s smaller footprint, many of these eco-friendly practices can potentially have a bigger impact.

Make sure to consult your local building codes to see where you can get started on your own dream shipping container home.

Please browse the Container Stop website for more great ideas about container home living. 

And as always, if you have questions, get in touch!

How Many Cars Fit In A Shipping Container?

How many cars fit in a shipping container? That sounds like something you’d see in an article titled, “10 Things You Need To Know But Never Thought To Ask”!

Obviously, the number of cars that can fit in a shipping container depends on the size of the container, the size of the cars, and the type of vehicles. But we can make some educated guesses to figure it out.

Shall we?

Shipping Container Dimensions

If you look through the Container Stop FAQs, you’ll notice the following questions: What length do shipping containers come in? Other dimensions?

Our answer: The most frequently requested sizes are 10 feet, 20 feet, and 40 feet, although we’re able to customize them so they’re as short as 5 feet or as long as 45 feet.

Just tell us what you need, and we’ll get to work.

While the lengths can be customized, all our containers are 8 feet wide. They’re available in two heights: standard 8.5 feet or a high-cube 9.5 feet.

Since we’re discussing shipping container dimensions, we thought we’d mention that the width and height of our containers cannot be altered. So please keep that in mind when considering your own trailer.

Of course, when trying to determine how many cars will fit in a shipping container, height is only of slight importance. After all, we’re not going to try and stack cars atop one another, are we?

(Quick side note: It’s possible — indeed it’s mandatory when cost-effective shippers are seeking efficiencies and are looking to maximize the use of space — to arrange vehicles in a shipping container with one end elevated. You can see what that looks like here.)

Shipping Containers and Cars

Keeping the shipping container dimensions above in mind, we can get an idea of the number of vehicles that can fit inside a shipping container.

A 20-foot container can accommodate two standard-sized vehicles placed end to end. A 40-foot container can fit about four standard-sized vehicles inside.

If we add a few wrinkles, we can say that a 40-foot container can hold five or six small cars. A container can probably accommodate three big cars or SUV-style vehicles.

But remember: YMMV! (Your mileage may vary!)

Happy shipping!

Contact Container Stop with any questions.

12 Tips You Need to Know Before Building a Shipping Container Home

Thinking of changing your lifestyle and embracing tiny home living? A shipping container home can be a unique and sustainable housing option. We’ve compiled 12 tips you need to know before building a shipping container home.

There are many benefits to building a shipping container home, but there are some important things you will need to know before you get started.

Shipping Container Tips

Tip #1: Know what type of container you want.

There are a variety of shipping container types, so determine ahead of time which types are best for your particular use. These may include standard, refrigerated, or high cube. Find one contractor who is familiar with each.

Tip #2: Read up on local rules.

Know what permits you need. Find out what county and city regulations there are regarding building codes, building materials, load-bearing, and bracing requirements, traditional construction processes versus container homes, etc. Avoid building the home or even buying a shipping container before you’re well-versed in these things.

Tip #3: Know their structure.

The structural integrity of your container is important, so make sure to read up on where load-bearing walls are, for example. (Sometimes, walls are both load-bearing.)

Tip #4: Know your budget.

Setting your budget ahead of time will save you the headache of overspending — which only tends to get worse once you’ve started building. When you’re ready to shop, think of your budget, and think of the long term.

Tip #5: Pick insulation wisely.

Research how to best insulate the shipping container so you can stay comfortable all year long in your new living space. Foam insulation? Fiberglass? These are important questions. Feel free to ask for advice from other folks who have moved into shipping container homes.

Tip #6: Plan for plumbing.

Knowing ahead of time where the plumbing will go is an important part of the building process.

Tip #7: Stick to the design.

Just like any construction project, changing the design of a home during construction could be costly. Commit to your final design before the building begins. Long walls, windows, and doors, eco-friendly, etc. — whatever your design goals, try to stick to them.

Tip #8: Look before you buy.

Look at the shipping containers before you buy them. You will need to ensure they don’t have structural issues, rust, or other dents.

Tip #9: Plan for electrical.

Plan where your electrical wiring will go before you start finishing the interior. Carving appropriate holes ahead of time will help determine how you arrange the inside later on.

Tip #10: Plan for weather elements.

Thunderstorms and winds can be hard on your shipping container home, so plan by painting accordingly and putting the container in an area that is shielded from the wind.

Tip #11:  Know if container living is right for you.

It’s essential to know if this type of home is right for you. Not everyone wants to live in a small space, so determine well ahead of time if you can thrive in this type of environment or not.

Tip #12: Ask for help if needed.

Designers, engineers, and other building professionals can make the building process a lot easier. Choosing experienced contractors can minimize stress and save you money.

Shipping container homes offer all the convenience of modern living in a reduced footprint. The first step is selecting the right shipping container. Contact our team at Container Stop to talk about your container project.