5 Ways Shipping Container Homes Can Help the Environment
Shipping container architecture (also known as ‘cargotecture’) is renowned as a sustainable building technology. But why is this? There are five main reasons shipping container homes can help the environment:
1. They use existing materials without reprocessing
2. They are made of one of the most recycled materials on the planet
3. They save on brick built construction
4. They need less concrete in construction and
5. They take less energy to build.
Let’s look at these ideas in more detail.
1. Using an existing steel box
There was a lot of energy put into making the container in the first place. However that energy doesn’t need to be used again in the building block of your shipping container home. It is estimated that turning a 12 metre container into a home saves around 8 megawatt-hours of energy that would otherwise be used in melting it down and turning it into a car or other commercial purpose. In its longevity you are effectively storing the energy and not using it again, saving the climate more strife from shredding and melting it down.
2. What was it in a previous life? A bean can? A ship?
A fun fact with steel is that 86% of all steel in use today is recycled. It’s quite possible you’ve ‘met the same bits of metal before’ in your life when you look at a shipping container – it could have been the old ute you took to the scrappy a few years back or even the tin of beans your Mum gave you for breakfast one morning as a kid as well!
Steel is one of the most recycled products in the world, and it’s only the fact that mankind finds the stuff so useful that we smelt ever more of the stuff. One of the reasons we smelt more steel is so that things like container homes stay in place for a very long time before being torn down.
3. Much less CO2 than bricks
Cement costs a tonne of carbon emissions for every tonne made. It’s a climate hater! In using recycled materials and not bricks and cement, a shipping container home construction takes far less CO2 per square metre of home than its traditional counterparts.
4. Lighter foundations
A brick or even timber framed home will require concrete foundations on which to build up from then ground on. Concrete = cement.
In many cases you can put a shipping container home on as few as 4-6 small concrete piers. Four would support the structural corners of the container and two would sit in the middle to prevent hogging.
As a comparison, a brick or timber framed house would sit on a slab that could even have piers of concrete beneath, taking up a lot more time to make (and therefore carbon) as well as using cement to bind it all together.
5. Less energy to build
In theory you could have a two storey shipping home in place in as little as a day. How long does it take to throw up a brick built home of the same size? Weeks at best – certainly not even days! You may see a lot of builders standing around with a cup of coffee but they work very hard when they get going! In using their power tools and other machines in the first phases of construction, the brick-built home takes a lot more energy, cubic metre for cubic metre to get the structure up.
An environmentally sustainable alternative?
So there we have it – shipping container homes take a lot less energy to build than brick or wooden homes and are kinder to the atmosphere and environment than if the containers were melted down.
If you’re looking to build an environment-kind home, then you’d do well using a shipping container such as those we sell here at Gateway Container Sales. Give us a shout today to discuss building your dream home!