Green Growth of Shipping Container Homes

Since the turn of the century shipping container homes have slowly started becoming more common, but it’s over the last three years that shipping container homes have really started to gain popularity with their price and eco-friendliness being key selling points. With thousands of used shipping containers left abandoned in ports throughout the US let’s take a closer look at the use of recycled shipping containers.

Trend Setters
Several homes have helped launch the idea that shipping container can be turned into beautiful, affordable and environmentally friendly homes.

The Peralta family’s home, named ‘Containers of Hope’, was made in 2011 and was built out of two old 40 foot shipping containers. Their home really showed people for the first time that shipping container homes can be affordable. The home was designed by Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture and built for under $40,000, which includes the cost of purchasing the containers.

Perhaps the most famous use of shipping containers is the Graceville Container home which was built back in 2013 by Todd Miller. The Graceville Container home was originally shown on Grand Designs Australia where Todd showcased the idea of a three story, 6000 foot square home. The home was built for $550,000 and has since been featured on Container Home Plans.


Another great example of a truly ‘off-grid’ container home is Larry Wade’s ‘Taj MaLodge’. He built the container home himself for around $35,000 (this figure doesn’t include the cost of the land) and it even features DIY solar panels on the roof to provide some additional energy. Why not check out the Green Guru Guides on Solar Power for Your Home for more information on solar panels at your new home?

So What Else Are Shipping Containers Being Used For?
Not only are shipping containers being used to create incredible homes for people we have started to see them being for numerous other reasons.



We have also seen novelty use of shipping containers, such as Wahaca, a London base Mexican restaurant, who converted eight shipping containers into a temporary restaurant overlooking the river Thames. Or Stefan Beese, an American architect, converting a shipping container into a swimming pool for his family!

Why Are Shipping Container Homes Popular?
The use of shipping containers as a building material has dramatically risen over the last decade due to two main reasons. Firstly, the cost. Building a home from shipping containers can be significantly cheaper than building a home out of traditional materials. We have seen this through examples such as Containers of Hope; a 1000 square home built by Benjamin Garcia Saxe for $40,000.

Secondly, shipping containers are seen as a more environmentally friendly building material when compared to traditional building materials such as brick and cement. There are thousands of these shipping containers lying dormant in ports throughout the world that could be used to build homes with. Other benefits of building with shipping containers include their strength. Each shipping container is designed to carry up to 30 tonnes inside it, so it makes them an ideal building material to work with.

Be careful though as idyllic as it, shipping container homes don’t come without drawbacks. Most notable are that shipping containers require a fair amount of man hours and energy to convert them into living dwellings. In addition the wooden floors in containers are typically infused with hazardous chemical pesticides, so new flooring would be required in most containers.

However if you are looking for a sustainable project which can both environmentally friendly and financially viable maybe a shipping container home is for you?