Container Homes Can Reduce Utility Costs

Container Homes Can Reduce Utility Costs

Maintaining a bricks and mortar building takes some doing.  It’s constant.  No sooner have you completed one repair job than another appears.  I’ve watched my supposedly retired husband crawl into little places to add a little concrete or cement, strip walls to re-decorate, hire a plumber or a roofer and all in the name of comfort.  You’d be surprised how many times I have said that I would give it all up for a caravan.  They say that a change is as good as a rest.  Maybe it’s better.

Today’s lifestyle is all about managing change.  You’ll quickly think of the transience of relationships, jobs and technological advancement but probably the biggest change we all need to address relates to taking care of our planet.  A growing population means we need to create more of everything.  That means more food, more electricity, more space and that all so important water.  Also, as single occupancy seems to be what the future is definitely on a crash course for, we need more dwellings.

If we moved into a caravan, where would all of my furniture, let alone my boxes of keepsakes, go?  Well, the truth of the matter is that there’s something better and bigger than the caravan as we know it. You really need to look into what can now be done with recycled shipping containers in providing homes, hotels and office blocks and how less energy is used to create living, leisure and working space than is used for traditional builds.

Traditional Build v Container Home.

From an ecological point of view, the brick-style building uses a lot of our ‘in short supply’ energy.  Think of the electricity used to power machines, the fuel to deliver supplies and operate vehicles and, oh, the water to create concrete, cement and clean up afterwards.

That leaves you wondering about the fuel and water needed to create a container home.  Well, a recycled container is a sturdy and sustainable shell just waiting to be converted into a much greener dwelling than the orange brick model.  If you’re now mulling the idea over in your head, you might want to know a little bit more about that sturdy container.

The History of the Recycled Shipping Container.

It was in 1956 that shipping containers starting addressing the needs involved in loading and unloading goods and, although these originally met with opposition from the dockworkers, it was in the seventies when they became standard on all ships.  They were quick to load and equally quick to unload.  However, returning empty containers, or ‘deadheads’ as they came to be known, was not profitable, so they collected near the ports, gathering dust.

In 1987, an American gentleman called Phillip C. Clarke filed for a patent to convert a shipping container into a habitable building.  Patent number 4854094 was granted in 1989.  Since then, recycled shipping containers have served many useful purposes, including storage, site offices, classrooms and also as makeshift shelters in the 1991 Gulf War.

Over the last decade, these containers have been snapped up by top developers to create hotels, student accommodation buildings and everything imaginable.  Each container is fitted out at an offsite location then, once the land is prepared for delivery, the containers are sited, securely stacked to create maybe up to seven storeys and, as their ‘plug and play’ status suggests, ready to use straightaway.

Modular Building Systems in Today’s Energy-Conscious World.

Of course, the same property developers that create these breath-taking modular buildings also design smaller places for individual customers, so the single person can start with a single container home (140 square feet of living space), with the option to increase the footprint, or indeed build upwards, when extra space is needed and can be afforded. Equipped with all the things the eco – friendly person would want in a home (e.g thermal insulation, a rainwater harvesting system and renewal energy systems), the container home doesn’t drain our planet of its much needed resources.

In the long run, these eco-friendly homes will be cheaper to run so, if utility bills go down, life would be much less stressful.  Taking a serious look at the recycled shipping container option makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Recycled Containers are the Future Sustainable Homes

Recycled Shipping Containers are the Future Sustainable Homes

In the history of human life, so much seems to have happened, yet it is the last three hundred years that seems to have revolutionised the way we live. Industrialisation did indeed make working on the land easier and early transport made leaving your own village a possibility but huge changes seem to have happened within our own lifetimes.  We’ve passed through steam trains, electric trains, aeroplanes and jumbo jets, calculators and computers and have arrived in a time where the world is in our own home.

But even that home has changed.  Now that we have access to libraries of knowledge at the press of a button (and might I add, without the fear of an overdue fine), we can see the lack of respect we have shown towards our planet.  In turn, we can see what efforts are being made to reverse the damage.  Recycling of waste may be respect in its easiest form and we can all do that.  However, home owners can go a lot further, by looking at systems such as waste disposal, heating, re-using grey water (any used water that didn’t come from the toilet / sewage system).

Eco-Friendly from the Word ‘Go’.

If you’re right at the point of becoming a first-time home owner, why not go the whole hog, before you get buried in heavy direct debits for mortgages and utility bills?  Look at today’s lifestyle and take on board that buying a brick and mortar house is not today’s best option.  Why?  Because today’s lifestyle is well and truly transient.  You may find work hundreds of miles from home.  In the future, you may want to be nearer your son who is at university.  When you reach retirement age, you might be planning to move into the country. Things really do change.

Today’s lifestyle is about transient homes and, as nice as they are for short periods of time, we’re not talking caravans.  Today, those in-the-know are having their homes built modular-style and at a much cheaper price than a traditional build.  Recycled shipping containers can form the bones of these homes, so the skeleton is waterproof, rust-proof, wind-proof and not on the woodworm’s list of favourites.  A twenty feet container is enough for a student pad, so two containers would make a good starter home.  But the beauty of modular buildings is that, when your family increases in size you don’t have to start looking for a bigger house: simply add another container to your already personalised modular building.

With correct planning permission, your home can be a bungalow or a two or more storey building, as these containers interlock so sturdily, that even the strongest of hurricanes can’t budge them.  And when fitted with external cladding, an eco-friendly home looks just like any other home.

But before you get to that stage of cladding, you will be adding all the eco-friendly systems that support both the planet and your pocket.  My Space Pod is an excellent site to look at, to understand just what is available for heating, energy, saving water etc..  They prepare the containers offsite and, once the planning permission has been granted and the ground has been prepared to receive your new container home,  the ‘plug and play’ home is up and running.

Getting in right at the beginning really is a good idea, as starting the house ladder with eco-friendly systems in place is a lot easier than changing a traditional method.  Savings on the cost are being made from day one and remember that, when retirement comes, you can take all of your precious memories with you.  What could be better than that?