There are about 17 million shipping containers in the world, but only 6 million of those containers are actually being used. That means roughly 11 million shipping containers are just sitting there, not being utilized, when they could be used for storage and shipping needs, running businesses, and even transforming homes.
Thankfully, more and more businesses and people are starting to convert shipping containers into livable homes, all kinds of businesses, and even breweries!
According to CBS New York, a Brooklyn company is doing just that — turning unused shipping continuers into nice homes and commercial businesses.
“You’re standing in a restaurant and a bar,” said Paul Galvin, the founder and owner of SG Blocks, which is turning these unused containers into homes, businesses, and pubs.
SG Blocks has already completed shipping container projects in all 50 states, including a Bareburger on Long Island and a Starbucks in Salt Lake City. Galvin says the structures are secure, strong, sustainable, and actually cost between 30 and 50 cents less than materials used for conventional building.
“Anybody involved in construction, either personally or professionally, know the outrageous prices being charged by general contractors in every major city in the United States,” added Galvin.
Shipping container builders and architects love the versatility of these units; being able to stack containers on top of each other for second, third, and even fourth floors, as well as simply cutting windows into the side of the steel.
Heat gain and heat loss through windows are actually responsible for between 25% to 30% of residential heating and cooling energy usage, but it’s a lot easier to handle a building’s energy usage when that home is constructed entirely of durable shipping containers.
It’s recommended for anyone thinking about having a shipping container structure constructed to work with one single building contractor.
“The one thing we would have done differently would have been to find one contractor to help the whole process versus having one for getting and modifying the containers, and another to finish out the interior,” said Kam Kasravi and Connie Dewitt, who own a home consisting of four pre-fabricated shipping containers. “This wasn’t really an option given local familiarity with containers as a structure — but that’s what we would have wished that would have likely made certain things a bit easier.”
Here are some of the most popular shipping container home designs and their current market costs:
- Green Home — With a surface of 2,000 square feet and five separate outdoor decks, this larger container setup costs around $150,000, compared to the $300,000 required to build a normal house this size.
- Container Lake House — There are a few more logistical aspects of having a home constructed by the water, so you’ll have to take into the location, but you can acquire the continuers needed for around $40,000 to $80,000.
- Container Guesthouse — Another great option for homeowners is to add a container guesthouse on their property. At an estimated cost around $40,000, two containers covering 1,000 square feet is all you need.
- Tiny Shipping Container Home — A single container home with a few solar panels can not only look great, but give you a nice, livable area for under $50,000.
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