Wisconsin Off The Grid Container Home

Wisconsin Off The Grid Container Home

By Christine Walsh 

container home

This innovative shipping container home measures 500 square feet including the deck space, and is located in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It comes complete with a small dipping pool and would make a great beach home or lake cabin. While this small home can be hooked up to utilities, it is designed to also function completely off the grid.

Container home extention

The power to this home is supplied via 4 solar panels with 240 watts each, which are connected to a 3600watt 24volt TR3624 Xantrex Inverter and mounted using a Unirac mounting system. This entire system is capable of producing up to 3,700 to 4,440 watt hours per day calculated based on 5 to 6 hours of peak sunshine. The kit can also have an additional 7 panels connected to increase the electrical output of the system.

The interior of the house is made from Blue Ribbon OSB Wood Boards, which are certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. The insulation is moisture resistant and capable of reflecting 97% of radiant energy due to the Reflectix foil faced insulation system. The home also comes installed with a murphy bed, which can be doubled up to make more room and which is already fitted with inset fabric panels.

Container Home Interior

Container home living area


Container Home extention and living room

The Water Saver toilet has a sink built into the tank, which allows for direct recycling of grey water for flushing. The toiled can be connected to a Bio-digester waste system or a standard sewer. The hand held shower and mixing valve are connected to a gravity fed batch solar water heater. The flooring in the bathroom is made from acid stained cement, while the rest of the house has cork flooring.

The deck outside is lined with rice husk and recycled plastic decking and is erected on a lightweight 100% corrosive resistant aluminum structure, which has stainless steel fasteners and adjustable legs. The deck also includes an 8’x8’x3.5’ movable pool prototype membrane, which can be used as a dipping pool or water reservoir. The pool can be filtered with non-mechanical slow sand filters and an ultraviolet water pump.

The house has an aluminum and frosted glass exterior with a sliding door system with aluminum tube section and al. angle structure. The home’s kitchen comes complete with 2 induction single cooktops and a pan and also features a 36” stainless steel sink and faucet. The custom-made cabinetry is also constructed from OSB wood boards, while the kitchen counter top is made from stainless steel. This container home was selling for $49,000 about a year ago.

Bathroom of a container home


Container home kitchen

Dining area

Homage to the Shipping Container: Pallotta Teamworks Headquarters

Homage to the Shipping Container: Pallotta Teamworks Headquarters



Over ten years ago, Clive Wilkinson Architects (CWA) were trailblazers in the use of repurposed shipping containers to build out the warehouse headquarters of Pallotta TeamWorks, a charity event company. The design won several design awards, including a national AIA Honor Award in 2002 with comments from the awards jury showing appreciation for its visual richness and environmental conservation. One juror said that it was “truly a California concept – recycling and sustainability at its utmost.”



In its heyday, Pallotta Teamworks was so successful in its fund-raising efforts that it was highlighted in a case study in 2002 by the Harvard Business School, having contributed $305 million net to various charities during a nine year period. Even though the company employed around 400 full-time staff members in sixteen offices nationwide by 2002, when they suddenly went out of business, laid off its entire staff, and closed the doors of its newly-built headquarters, the efforts of Pallotta Teamworks had inspired many other companies, events, and charities with their methodologies.

In an homage to the forward-thinking efforts of the people of Pallotta TeamWorks and the remarkable solution presented by CWA, Jetson Green presents some of the images of their headquarters, in hopes that others will be inspired to utilize similar approaches in today’s designs that utilize shipping containers.

The budget on the project, at $40 per square foot (about half of the going rate at the time), was so tight that analysis revealed there wasn’t enough money to pay for air conditioning in the space, leading to the decision to contain workspaces and strategically isolate the use of lighting and climate control in conjunction with passive air currents and skylights.

Minimal alteration of the warehouse structure, located in the Atwater Village area of Los Angeles, was facilitated by the use of air-conditioned “breathing islands” beneath tent structures that were anchored by shipping containers. A three-story “executive tower” of offices is a central focus of a cluster of departmental “neighborhoods.”




Shipping Containers Serve as Homes for Brighton Homeless


Shipping Containers Serve as for Brighton Homeless



Late in October, 36 new homes made from recycled shipping containers began arriving in Brighton to become temporary dwellings for men and women that have had a history of homelessness.

The initiative was begun by the Brigton Housing Trust, a housing charity, and QED Estates Ltd, a housing developer. Located in New England Road on a plot that is known as Richardson’s Yard, the development is taking the place of a car park and a former scrap metal yard. Because the land is not suitable for long-term housing, the location is temporary, but the container homes can be easily relocated when the five-year permit expires.



“We expect residents to be moving in about five weeks after the arrival of the first container on site and turn this exciting and innovative housing concept into reality,” said Ross Gilbert of QED, in a recent interview with The Argus. “Our temporary use of land earmarked for future regeneration demonstrates just what can be done in the interim to help solve the acute housing shortage.”

Twenty-one residents have been chosen and are “being prepared to move into their new homes,” said Andy Winter, Chief Executive of BHT. “The residents will have completed one of BHT’s programme for change and will free up space in other services that will be able to take in men and women who are currently on the streets.”

Designed and built in The Netherlands for a housing project in Amsterdam that was not finalized, the shipping containers are being stacked in three- and five-story configurations, with stairways leading to the upper stories, and will feature solar roof panels, gardens, and balconies.


A Green Family Home Made from Recycled Shipping Containers


By Christine Walsh


This unique, green family residence was constructed in Flagstaff, Arizona in March 2011. The home measures 2,000-square-feet and features 2 loft bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 office rooms, and a storage room, and a green house/solarium. The residence was made from six recycled shipping containers. Apart from that, the home was also designed with long term sustainability and energy efficiency in mind. The concept for the home was developed by Ecosa Institute, while in 2010 the house also received an award from the Coconino County Sustainable Building Program. The home took about two years to build.



The south facing house is built on a narrow urban infill lot, which is designated as a flood plain area. Due to the federal regulation requirements the house is lifted to 3-1/2 feet above ground level. The home rests on a foundation of forty concrete piers. The shipping containers use to build the residence were obtained and partially fabricated in Phoenix, then transported to the building site in Flagstaff on trailers. On site, they were crane-lifted onto the piers and welded into place. The interior was then furred with wood lumber in the ceilings and steel lumber in the walls. The electrical and plumbing systems are located inside the furred walls.

All the electrical needs of the household are provided for by a 3.6 kW on-grid solar system, which was designed and installed by AEA Inc. The water management and harvesting system was designed by TBKA Landscape Architects and installed by Northern Arizona Pump. It consists of gutters in the upper levels, which directs water into 2 large tanks, which can then be pumped to the garden. The water from the lower roofs and the rest of the site is directed to the garden by way of a grading plan. The garden is planted with indigenous, drought adapted plants, while recycled broken concrete and urbanite from the home’s construction site was used to designate the planting areas.

The floor and inside walls are insulated with closed-cell foam, and the ceilings with recycled denim, which provides R values of 20-24. The exterior of the containers was coated with SuperTherm ceramic coating that acts to reflect heat and cold. This provides the home with a long lasting finish, and works to prevent condensation inside the home. Furthermore, the roofs were sprayed with foam and covered with an impermeable membrane and fitted with a sand finish.

The windows and glass doors are thermally broken aluminum dual pane. The Kalwall insulated fiberglass walls allow additional daylight into the main living area space. The windows on the south side of the house let in enough sun heat to warm the concrete floor in the main living area. Apart from that, the main floor of the house is heated by an in-floor radiant heating system, which utilizes a high-efficiency dedicated gas water heater. The large openings from the lower level into the second story loft areas allow the thus produced heat to rise and warm these spaces as well.

Additionally needed warmth in the bathroom and other second story areas is obtained via high-efficiency electric heaters. The home does not have an air conditioning system, so all ventilation and cooling of the house is achieved through a skylight, the windows and several fans installed throughout the house. Special shading systems have also been installed to control the temperature in the home.