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.

Student Housing Made From Shipping Containers

Student Housing Made From Shipping Containers

By Christine Walsh 

ext

Architect Christian Salvati of Marengo Structures built the house on Vernon St. in New Haven, Connecticut out of six recycled shipping containers. The house was co-designed by architect Edsel Ramirez, and they used 45-foot containers, into which holes for doors and windows, as well as some of the interior walls to make rooms, were cut out prior to transporting them to the building site.

 

The entire construction process on site took less then four hours. The builders transported the containers to the site on flatbed trucks, then positioned them into place using a crane. Prior to the beginning of the construction process, they laid a concrete foundation, which is about 45 times stronger than foundation used in the construction of regular houses.

construction

The house cost $360,000 to build, though Salvati is optimistic that the cost will decrease substantially as he builds more shipping container homes once the economy of scale becomes applicable. Salvati purchased the lot where the house stands for $22,500 from Hill Development Corporation. The house has two separate apartments. The downstairs one is rented out to students, while Salvati uses the upstairs apartment when he visits New Haven.

The shipping containers they used are longer than standard containers, and they first painted the walls white on the inside and grey on the outside. The front of the house was fitted with a wooden façade that matches the other houses in the neighborhood, though the grey exterior sidewalls are still clearly visible. Salvati left the original doors of the container in place, and these now swing out in the rear of the house to create the sides of the back porch. From the inside the house looks no different than a regular house.

back

The interior of the home has sheetrock walls and ceilings, while the floors are made of poured and polished concrete. The walls are insulated with six inches of closed-cell soy-based sprayed cellulose. The house is heated by baseboard hot water heaters, while the house is also fitted with radiant floors. For cooling, air conditioners, ventilators and ceiling fans were installed.

indoor1

indor2

Salvati is also currently planning a larger shipping container housing project in the New Haven area, which will be built using 26 shipping containers. This house will also be flood proof, as it will be elevated by the use of 9-foot concrete pilings. The six-apartment housing project, to be located on the flood plains area, was recently unanimously approved by the New Haven City Planning Commission.

Boathouse Made From Shipping Containers

 

ext2

Boat builder Steve White from Belfast, Irland has recently constructed a houseboat made from shipping containers. He intends to live in it and has parked it in the Brooklin marina. White was helped in bringing his project into existence by SnapSpace Solutions, which is a Brewer company specializing in repurposing containers for living and office space, as well as Ellsworth container homeowners Jennifer Sansosti and Trevor Seip, and boat builder Andrew Baldwin.

 

The houseboat is constructed from two recycled shipping containers, which are offset and joined together by a wall that extends up to a second floor loft. The entire house is set on a 30’x50’ barge and creates a cozy, spacious home. The entire houseboat measures 24’x40’ and has around 1,000 square feet of living space, which includes two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen.

kitchen

living

The outside of the containers was painted red, while large windows were cut into the sides to let in the maximum amount of natural light. The interior is fitted just like a real house, and includes radiant heat floors, a fully equipped kitchen and bamboo flooring. The house is heated by a propane gas furnace.

White opted for shipping containers as the main building units of his new houseboat because they are affordable, structurally sound, green and only require a minimal investment to make them habitable. They are also designed and built to last in marine environments.

The builders were, however, faced with the challenge of how to make the large steel structure float. In the end they designed a barge, which is basically just a box. The flotation is made possible by plastic pontoon cylinders filled with foam. These are impervious to salt water and very sturdy when placed in the water. Though out of water, the cylinders can’t support the weight of the home.

Another challenge faced by the builders was the thick steel hull of the containers. They had difficulty cutting it, since it was hard to cut and prone to flexing and bending. In the end they used a steel frame to firm it up and make it more rigid.

White and his wife plan to stay in the house for part of the year, and rent in out during the summer months. He also has plans for the construction of more such houseboats made from shipping containers.

Historic Train Station in Paris To Become World´s Largest Start-Up Incubator

Historic Train Station in Paris To Become World´s Largest Start-Up Incubator

 

(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)

 

Paris has its answer to Silicon Valley, with plans to convert an historic train station into the world’s largest home for digital entrepreneurship. Architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte has been entrusted to rehabilitate the landmark building, situated on the southern bank of the river Seine, into a technological hub to accommodate 1,000 start-up companies by the year 2016.

 

 

 

(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)

 

The new Halle Freyssinet building will be structured around modular container-based architecture, a nod to the cargo train heritage of the building, and will provide a range of business functions including meeting rooms, spacious co-working areas, a large auditorium, a fab-lab (workshop to create digital prototypes) and a 24-hour restaurant and bar. The ambitious venture is made possible through the Municipality of Paris with joint financing by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and French entrepreneur, Xavier Nile.

 

(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)

 

If all goes to plan, the new digital incubator will strengthen France’s presence and competitiveness in the tech enterprise market by cultivating an open space for entrepreneurs to grow and share ideas.

 

“Paris is a magical city, a city that attracts people from around the world and where a real energy around digital is developing. But young companies that want to settle there are faced with a lack of affordable, practical and high-speed equipped places.”  Xavier Niel told the newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

 

(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)

 

(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)

 

(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)

(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)