Buying Shipping Containers

Sustainable Homesteading with Shipping Containers

Some of us are city-folk; we crave the closeness that is inherent with metropolitan living. Some of us are country-folk; we crave wide open spaces and little traffic. In the "country-folk" court we have a smaller subset-- the off-the-grid, self-sustainable folks. Today, we're talking to all of you that want to create an affordable storage container home that is (mostly) self-sustainable.

shipping_container_greenhouse

All photos and concepts by Off Grid Living

We're featuring an affordable home design from Off Grid Living (formerly Off Grid World) that is built from two 40' shipping containers. With the attached greenhouse and solar panels, this home is a shelter that can generate its own power and grow food for the occupants. The two assumptions to this design are that there is a foundation laid and that there is a water source nearby, either from a well or a municipal source. 

For living off the grid, the goal is to create as simple, sturdy, practical, inexpensive and efficient of a structure as possible. With that in mind, a shipping container house is the way to go. 

We always recommend that people interested in building their own storage container homes hire a team of people who are experienced to assist in the build; with that being said, a person with reasonable experience in construction and with the proper tools could recreate this structure for about $30k. Naturally, labor costs add to that, and it is worth it to work with professionals to ensure the greatest safety and structural integrity. 

shipping_containers

All photos and concepts by Off Grid Living

This model shines mostly because of its attached greenhouse, which serves numerous purposes. The greenhouse is a climate-controlled space for plants; the greenhouse makes it possible for a homeowner to grow food year-round without concern for climate complications. It also heats the house; the open windows allow for plenty of light to come in, and the humid greenhouse environment generates a lot of heat. For warm or arid climates, this could be ideal in winter and problematic in the summer months, so additional insulation is a good idea in those cases.  

shipping_container_cabin_greenhouse_side

All photos and concepts by Off Grid Living

The modular design of the intermodal containers and the home itself make this an easier "new-build" than most designs. The shipping containers are nearly always used-- you can buy containers that have never been used for cargo, but they would have to come directly from the supplier and freight charges would apply. The used cargo containers are better for this purpose, as you would be using recycled materials for building. This helps reduce your home's carbon footprint!

The two containers stacked together total about 640 sq feet of space. The stacked domicile is important for creating a large enough space to accommodate the greenhouse attachment.

shipping_container_cabin_greenhouse

All photos and concepts by Off Grid Living

The sloping roof allows for snow to slide off, preventing it from causing damage to the greenhouse itself. You can also vent the growspace so that you can better control the climate inside. 

Because of the advanced heating capabilities of the fully-metal housing, it's advised that the metal be covered with siding or other materials to maintain the living-space climate better. Any windows should be cut before siding is added.  In terms of insulation, to avoid having to lose square footage inside with insulation and drywall over it, any insulating materials should be added between the container and the siding.

shipping_container_cabin_greenhouse_porch

All photos and concepts by Off Grid Living

This model is sustainable, efficient, and affordable thanks to the usage of shipping containers. 

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Written by Container Guru / May 13, 2020

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