Shipping Container Recycled Into a Cozy Home

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It’s been awhile since we featured a shipping container home on this site, but this recently completed project by the tiny home company Walker Wilderness Enterprises from Brighton, Colorado deserves a mention. It is called Container Tiny House and can even be taken off-the-grid. It makes for a great vacation home, though it could also easily be used as a full time residence.

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To make the Container Tiny House they used a decommissioned 40 ft (12 m) high cube container. They left most of its original structure intact, save for installing a door, and several fully-operable windows along the sides. The total floorspace is a modest 320 sq ft (29 sq m), but they added quite a few clever space saving features. To properly insulate the containers, they framed and drywalled it as well as used 3 – 4 in (7.62 – 10.16 cm) of closed cell spray foam insulation to shield the interior from extreme external temperatures.

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The tiny home has two bedrooms, which are located on opposite sides of the container. There is also a kitchen and dining area, as well as a bathroom and even a small utility room. The bathroom is equipped with a composting toilet and a shower, while the home is wired to be hooked up to the grid and also features all the necessary plumbing fittings.

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To heat the water, they installed a tankless propane water heater, while all the lighting is in the form of efficient LED lights. Customers can also choose from extra features and appliances, such as an oven, dishwasher, a wood burning stove, as well as a solar panel setup, generator, and also a game cleaning station.

The basic version of the Container Tiny House is selling for $50,000.

 
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Sustainer Homes Made of Shipping Containers

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The company Sustainer Homes recently unveiled a shipping container home that can also be taken completely off-the-grid. According to the company, the main reason for constructing these homes was offering the younger generation a flexible and rent-free living option, which is becoming a must for many. The homes are also mobile and facilitate low-impact living.

Sustainer homes are meant to be primary residences, though they can also easily be used as hotels, holiday accommodations or emergency shelters. They are available in various sizes, ideal for one to two people. The basic version measures 323 sq ft (30 sq m) and can be purchased for about $82,500 (€75,000). They also have larger, family-sized containers available, while they are also currently developing offices, as well as container homes that can be deployed in various different climates.

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Repurposed containers are used to construct these homes, while the interiors are made out of ECOboard, which is a low-energy material made out of pressed grass. The containers are heated via a heat pump and sustainable materials are used for insulation. The homes are also fitted with a solar array and wind turbines for energy production. Using both of these technologies, the company estimates each container is capable of producing about 5,000 kWh of electricity per year, which should be enough to cover the energy requirements of the inhabitants. The containers are also equipped with a 20 kWh battery system. In future, they also plan on integrating this system with the Toon smart thermostat and create an app that will monitor battery level, solar array energy production levels, energy usage and forecast the weather.

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The drinking water comes from collected rainwater that is filtered to Dutch drinking water standards. The used water is also filtered using a helophyte filter and then returned to the ground. Toilet waste is treated to eliminate the bacteria and then composted.

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The prototype of the first Sustainer Home was completed this month and the company is now testing the design.

DigiTruck Will Bring Schools to Africa

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Children in remote areas of Africa more often than not do not have access to schools, let alone ones that allow for learning digital literacy. The solution to this perhaps lies in the so-called DigiTruck, which is a solar-powered digital classroom, which is also mobile.

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The DigiTruck was built by placing a standard, 40-foot shipping container atop a trailer, and can operate completely off-the-grid. It is well insulated to keep out the heat, and has steel doors and bolted window shutters, which provide security. It is illuminated by LED lighting. The truck is also fitted with solar panels, which take care of all its power needs. Should the need arise, the truck can also be reconfigured and used as a mobile health center, a community training center, or even a cyber cafe.

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The DigiTruck is administered by the digital literacy non-profit organization Close the Gap, who partnered up with Arrow Electronics and Hoops of Hope, to make it a reality. A DigiTruck can fit up to 18 students at a time and is fully equipped with refurbished IT equipment, namely 20 laptops, an LED screen, a printer and two Internet routers.

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Local workers in Arusha, Tanzania, were contracted to build the DigiTruck, and it is currently located at the Tuleeni orphanage in the remote village of Rau in the Kilimanjaro Region of the country. The mobile classroom is currently a school for 80 orphans. For now it will stay at the orphanage, but it will be taken to a new location in the second part of 2016. The equipment it currently contains will be donated to the Tuleeni Orphanage, while the truck will be fitted with new IT equipment.

Plans to build more of these DigiTrucks for deployment all across rural Africa are already underway, and I hope they soon turn into reality.

Shipping Container Business Complex Goes up in London

Shipping Container Business Complex Goes up in London

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Pop Brixton is a local business campus, which will soon open its doors in London, UK. It will house independent start-ups and small businesses from the area and the project managers estimate that it will create about 200 jobs by supporting around 80 local entrepreneurs, as well as create 12 apprenticeships being paid by the London Living Wage. The complex will be set up as a temporary shipping container village.

Pop Brixton will be built using 50 recycled containers, and it was designed by Carl Turner Architects. Shipping containers will be the main building blocks and will yield all the necessary business units, as well as a farm garden and a greenhouse area, along with exhibition space for local artists, workshop space and an event room with seating for more than 200 people. The event space will be constructed by stacking shipping containers three high, and removing their floors and ceilings to create an open and spacious venue. These spaces will be available for rent or for free to local people, artists and organizations.

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Businesses renting space at Pop Brixton will consist mainly of independent start-ups. They will be chosen based on their area of business as well as on the benefits they bring to the local community. The village is considered temporary since it is occupying a lot that is slated for redevelopment by the city council later this year. The good thing about using shipping containers to build it is that it can be relocated much more easily than another type of structure would.

Judging from the renders and construction photos, the shipping containers used were left in more or less their original state, which does offset the carbon footprint of this type of construction. The village is set to open on May 29.

Towers Built of Shipping Containers

Towers Built of Shipping Containers

By Christine Walsh

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The core of both towers will be made with containers in a vertical position, allowing elevator units to be housed in one of each of the containers in an upright position. From the renders it appears the shipping containers used to build these structures will not be modified a lot, apart from cutting out windows and doors. The shipping containers will simply be stacked in a way that grants the towers the necessary stability.

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The structure will also have a number of vertical gardens placed along the height of the building. These gardens will work to separate the apartment units and aid in the dissipation of heat in the summer. The facade will also be colored according to the orientation of the buildings and in relation to the sun, namely warm colors on the south facing side, and cold colors on the north facing side. This is also meant to offset the heat buildup in the units. Still, I am not convinced that in a hot climate like this, comfortable interior temperatures can be reached without some air conditioning.

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