Sustainer Homes Made of Shipping Containers

By

ext

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.

living

bed

bedroom

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.

plan

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.

planwater

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

By

side

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.

entering

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.

solar

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.

leaning

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.