Are Shipping Containers a Feasible Green Housing Option?

13 June 2016

shipping container

Don’t be too startled by the title – yes, people have actually tried this. Imagine the picture – a big, roomy shipping container by the dock (or just about anywhere, really – after all, it is shippable), with as much room as you want, with separate areas for furniture and furnished to serve as a small flat. Maybe even an eco toilet installed on one side so that you are not missing anything. It sounds like a place to live green. It sounds like a place where you can enjoy a free life, away from a noisy community. It sounds like a place with great acoustics as well! So does it really sound so ridiculous?

container insulation

Well, yes, yes it does. Shipping containers are by no means a viable place for housing. They are a place for storage and waste disposal, but if you try to live in one, the romantic notion of living in a place to be as green as you can for as little money as you have to spend will crumble only too fast.

container conversion

The Insulation Problem

Air conditioning is always something you need to watch out for. Saying that it will be stuffy in a steel container is like saying that the desert might get a bit warm once noon comes. No matter how many holes you poke, the container will still leave you with less oxygen options than you would ordinarily want. And if you have an inside toilet to deal with? Imagine a hot summer day with all the smells. Okay, stop imagining now, before you choke.

waste disposal

The Waste Problem

How dedicated to doing house clearance will you be if living in a shipping container? You are only fooling yourself, if your answer is ‘very’. Nobody would even bother cleaning the place just on the account of it being too much physical work for an uninsulated environment. The heat itself would be too burdensome to care. And that means piling of waste instead of doing rubbish clearance. That also means using clearance companies to do the waste disposal for you and that means a lot of expenditure for picking up after yourself.

rubbish recycling

Green Only In Recycling

And yes, there is nothing green and eco-friendly about living in a shipping container. No matter how much you decorate it and how many things you install there, including electricity, everything will be an object of contamination because of everything else. Everything in the container will be just too close together, with no room to breathe, and amongst everything is you. Does that sound healthy to you in any way, shape, or form? For a shipping container, being green means being sent for waste recycling as soon as its original transportation purpose is finished. It can in no way help the environment other than becoming material to create something more useful with.

shipping container home

Unless you are living in a very poor corner of the Middle East or you are serving in the military, there is absolutely no excuse to try living in a shipping container. If you are so desperate to try out cheaper and more imaginative housing, try some borough that has less rich towns and offers shadier streets. That’s where the cheap housing is, and you will be much safer there as well. Shipping containers offer no means of rubbish disposal other than walking out and taking everything to a street bin (you are living in a container, you have no address for local rubbish collectors), and they offer no proper air to breathe or environment to enjoy. Don’t be silly – just get a single room flat, at least you’ll have a neighbour to yell at when something is not working or missing.

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