Building with Shipping Containers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010 , Posted by Zeeda Andrews at 4:36 PM

AZ Containers has an idea whose time seems to have arrived is the use of stockpiled shipping containers as modular units for building homes. Because of the balance of trade in the United States, these hefty steel boxes are piling up in ports around the country and posing a storage problem. Several architects and builders are taking advantage of this surplus to recycle the containers.

A container has 8000 lbs of steel which takes 8000 kwh of energy to melt down and make new beams etc...  The process of modifying that entire 8000 lbs of steel into a "higher and better use" only takes 400 kwh of electrical energy (or 5%).  Granted it takes a bit more "muscle" but this is the Value-Cycling which is that next step up from Re-cycling."


Each container measures 8 feet wide by 40 feet long by 9 feet tall. SG Blocks sells the finished structural systems (also called SG Blocks) for $9,000 to $11,000 per unit. The finished units have one or two walls removed and include the necessary support columns and beam enhancements.

Invented more than five decades ago, the modern shipping container is the linchpin in our global distribution network of products. In the containers go toys from China, textiles from India, grain from America, and cars from Germany.

While a number of resourceful people have converted shipping containers into make-shift shelters at the margin of society for years, architects and green designers are also increasingly turning to the strong, cheap boxes as source building blocks.

Shipping containers can be readily modified with a range of creature comforts and can be connected and stacked to create modular, efficient spaces for a fraction of the cost, labor, and resources of more conventional materials.

Discover some of the exciting possibilities of shipping container architecture, from disaster relief shelters to luxury condos, vacation homes, and off-the-grid adventurers. See what makes them green as well as cutting edge.


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