There are thousands of shipping container homes nowadays. However, the question is, can one you live in a sustainable container home? We shall explore how to create a sustainable container home in this article.
Since the turn of the century, we have been witnessing a growing interest in sustainable living. In 2018, BusinessWire’s poll showed that 84% of Americans favor the idea of living green.
People have been trying to live greener lifestyles to ensure the safety of our environment. In fact, one of the many ways of living a “sustainable life” is by building eco-friendly shipping container homes. Therefore, we shall explore different ways to create a sustainable container home. A few shipping container homes are designed to be eco-friendly. A good shipping container housing plan makes sustainable living off-grid much easier for container home lovers.
Table of Contents
- Ensure you lower your temperature
- Make use of Eco-friendly Insulation
- Use Photovoltaic Solar Panels
- Use Efficient Light Bulbs
- Get Rid of Dangerous and Harmful Chemicals
- Go for Recycled Containers
- Use local building materials
- Prepare for the wind
- Avoid too much welding
- Embrace Intelligent Planting
Shipping container homes are useful if you want to enjoy a minimalist and eco-friendlier lifestyle. Plus, getting ahold of a shipping container home is easy because they are built out of containers and can be moved anywhere. Enjoying sustainable living off-grid is excellent, especially when you have all the necessary facilities in place.
10 Essential Tips for Creating a Sustainable Shipping Container Home
Here are trusted tips on how you can enjoy shipping container sustainability.
1. Ensure you lower your temperature
If you’re looking to create a sustainable container home. Then you’ll need to look into low emission climate control. By turning the thermostat down and reducing your hot water temperature, you can reduce carbon emissions. In addition, if you can endure living in slightly warmer interior temperatures in the summer, you can save big. Remember, a fan is cheaper than an air conditioner and a blanket is less expensive than a heating bill.
2. Make use of Eco-friendly Insulation.
In maintaining shipping container sustainability, the insulating material for your container can make a massive difference. Thankfully, there’s a wide variety of insulation options to choose from. Thus, you can use any of the natural choices like straw, cotton, hemp, etc.
However, depending on your climate and how you insulate your home, condensation will greatly impact your decision. For instance, regions with cooler climates are prone to greater condensation. Therefore, some insulation choices will start growing mold or mildew.
After deciding which insulation to use. Now, it’s time to determine where to start placing it. The easiest option is to insulate your shipping container walls, but that can limit heat transfer. If you’re paying money to heat and cool your sustainable container home. Then a poor heat transfer choice turns into a poor energy use. We are aware that energy use affects eco-friendliness.
Looking to naturally insulate your shipping container? Then adding straw bales to the exterior can be a great insulator. Humans have been using straw bale construction for centuries. It’s a great way to recycle leftover products of grain agriculture, which are sometimes burned or left to rot. Straw bales are arguably one of the best building materials for insulation. Its R-values can go as high as R-35.
3. Use Photovoltaic Solar Panels
Another fantastic green energy solution for sustainable container home living is solar panels. The only downside is that it’s dependent on your location. A typical solar panel system can save you a great deal of money off yearly electricity bills. To get the best value out of solar panels, ensure your container location faces the sun and doesn’t have much shade.
A good installation company can provide you with the necessary information concerning the sunlight’s energy in your location. The company will also tell you to have much electricity you can generate for different sized systems.
4. Use Efficient Light Bulbs
Efficient light bulbs have excellent energy-saving potential. The wave started with a compact fluorescent lamp, and now we have the LED bulbs. These LED bulbs have greater energy savings ability, which implies carbon emission savings. Lastly, LED bulbs are highly rated and interestingly affordable.
5. Get Rid of Dangerous and Harmful Chemicals
Another way for you to maintain a sustainable container home is to get rid of the harmful chemicals. These shipping containers are designed to withstand the harsh voyage at sea. Thus, the flooring in shipping containers is usually heavily treated with pesticides to curb rodents’ living as stowaways. Plus, shipping containers typically use paint that is heavy with metals like phosphorus and chromate. The reason being, this heavy metal paint helps prevent corrosion from constant exposure to saltwater.
A study showed that about 20% of shipping containers that arrive at the harbor contain volatile toxic substances. These volatile substances are substantially higher than the established exposure limit values. It is common to find dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde, styrene, benzene, or toluene in these containers. Therefore, when transforming a shipping container into a livable home, you must remove the pesticide-laced flooring.
In addition, you will need to remove the toxic paint. However, removing toxic paint will most likely cause off-gassing and dangerous dust. It is better to use a non-toxic sealing primer to cover the chemicals and block the off-gassing of dangerous organic compounds.
6. Go for Recycled Containers
When switching over to container home living, many people opt for the new & fresh one-trip shipping containers. However, the problem with this move is that you are incorporating an enormous amount of steel (an unrenewable resource). This unrenewable resource could perfectly be used to ship cargo around the world. When you use shipping containers that have completed their journey aboard cargo ships, you recycle sustainable materials into your home.
7. Use local building materials
There is no better way to reduce carbon footprint in your container home than using local materials in the construction. Your location will determine the local material that will be available for use.
The bottom line is that you have to investigate your surroundings for local materials that are readily available. For example, if you reside in Canada or United States, oak is readily available to cover your container home’s exterior. Again, this is to avoid sourcing for local materials from a distant location.
Worry no more if you are building your container home on a low budget. This is because local materials are eco-friendly and affordable. You can use them to build a sustainable container home.
8. Prepare for the wind
You can avoid being caught in a messy situation by building your container home in a less windy environment. When a strong wind blows against the exterior of the container, it causes noise. This noise can affect the peaceful living inside your shipping container home.
If you can’t help but build a container home in a windy environment, ensure to place it behind a windbreak. This is to reduce the action of the wind against your container home.
9. Avoid too much welding
When building a sustainable container home, you have to think of ways to cut down unnecessary costs. Ensure you use a budget-friendly design that does not require much welding to cut down the construction cost.
10. Embrace Intelligent Planting
It is essential to consider the soil and climate type of your location before you begin planting. Neglecting these factors may cause you to be actively involved in maintaining the vegetation. This isn’t what you want, right?
Sustainable living requires utilizing the right soil and climate that complement the plant species for that location. Organic food is ideal for sustainable living, especially fruits and vegetables. A good practice is using roof drainage to collect rainwater for gardening.
Creating a sustainable shipping container home entails paying attention to the points we have raised in this post. Shipping container sustainability is hugely dependent on you making the right green decisions. In addition, living in a sustainable container home allows you to enjoy a serene environment that improves your health. Furthermore, being mindful of our environment and doing everything to ensure its sustainability should be an obligation. Lastly, we owe it to the future generation to make the environment conducive for them.
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