We live in a modern society where not only can you order your groceries online, but you can literally order a house off Amazon, with the click of a mouse. It’s no wonder the tiny house movement is taking America by storm. Smaller housing options are getting attention and becoming more and more popular. Shipping container homes are a big part of this trend, and have been featured on television shows, news features, and internet videos for several years now. It’s amazing what kind of modern architectural wonders can be created with used shipping containers and other recycled materials. They are very cost-efficient and friendly to the environment. They offer so many practical applications that it’s no wonder that they seem to be popping up in more and more places. So, why exactly are they so popular and will the fad continue to grow?
What makes shipping containers a sustainable and more environmentally friendly option? To start with, there are a lot of them simply lying around to be used. The United States imports much more than it exports, so there are containers that are not being sent back to where they came from. Estimates show that there are generally around 5 million surplus containers every year. Sure, they could be melted down and recycled, but that would take an enormous amount of energy. For many years, shipping containers have been used to make schools, modern swimming pools, fire stations, hospitals, retail stores, and even Starbucks coffee shops. Within the last decade or so, they’ve become very popular for making homes.
How Do People Live in Shipping Container Homes?
With smaller modern homes on the rise, and container homes getting more popular along with the trend, what exactly is it like to build and live in one? Depending on where you live, there may be special zoning or planning permits required. You also want to make sure that you find a builder that has experience using shipping containers before, and get some kind of sample of their work, either through pictures or video. Living in a shipping container home doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing all the comforts of a traditional sized home. They can have full bathrooms, kitchens, and living areas. The only sacrifice is space. With a little creativity and ingenuity, that can be overcome to build a two-story, two or three bedroom home when melded together or stacked up. Multi-use furniture, such as fold-out beds, cupboards that double as kitchen tables, and the use of levels are just some of the ways that a small space can look and act much bigger.
Reasons for Building With Shipping Containers
We’ve already mentioned sustainability, which is a major part of why so many people have chosen to build homes with shipping containers. However, that’s not the only reason. For one, there’s the price of a shipping container home. At its most basic, a home using a single container will cost between $2500 and $3000. That would give you about 300 square feet of space to live vs small homes under 500 square feet. You can then build on top and around that single container with other containers. On top of that is how quickly a shipping container home can be built. The structure is already there, so it does not take long to weld together containers, cut the openings, and install any utilities. This is in fact one of the reasons that they are so valuable for things like disaster relief, as they can be ready in a few short weeks.
You Can Literally Move Your Entire Home
Let’s face it. Perhaps the most frustrating thing about moving is packing up all of your stuff in boxes and getting it organized for shipping. A shipping container home can help you avoid all of that trouble. Shipping containers are made for shipping, it’s right in their name. Being mobile is very valuable in this day and age when people change jobs and locations more often than ever before. Being able to ship your entire home can be an amazing benefit for those who tend to roam.
Shipping container homes offer an enormous potential for social benefit. Perhaps homelessness will never be completely eliminated, but there is a need for creative and cost-efficient solutions to help ease the burden. Shipping containers could be that solution. They provide flexibility, a low cost, and they are made from recycled materials. Cities in the United States spend billions each year on fighting homelessness and its negative effects on the community. Low cost shipping container housing can be installed almost anywhere.
They have been erected on top of city-owned parking garages, in empty lots, and even on the water in harbors. Just about any city can find room for a shipping container apartment complex.
The world is getting more crowded, so space and resources are getting more limited. Minimalism is on the rise as more people are realizing that they do not need as much living space to live complete and happy lives.
Creative solutions are needed to save space and to provide housing for everyone who needs it. Shipping containers provide easy construction, durability, and portability.
All of these factors mean that the current fad is not likely to go away, and will in fact grow for the foreseeable future.