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15 Ways To Make Your Shipping Container Home More Eco-Friendly

Posted By: April 30, 2015 In How To

Want to build your own shipping container home? Start Here.

So we already know that using shipping containers for constructing buildings is environmentally friendly. In a recent survey, we found that the two most common reasons people want to live in a container home is because they are affordable and Eco friendly. Read more about that here.

Let’s discuss some ways that you can make your shipping container buildings even more Eco friendly?

Lower Your Temperature

Do you really need to walk around inside during the winter wearing only shorts and a t-shirt? If you turn the thermostat down and slightly reduce the temperature of your hot water, you could save yourself money and reduce your carbon emissions!

Use Your Garden

Another great way to improve the Eco friendliness of your container is to create a compost pile either in your kitchen, by using a compost pail or bin, or in your garden.

Lots of daily items we throw into the bin could instead be placed on a compost pile. Things like vegetable peels, fruit, tea bags, cotton clothes and more, can all be recycled.

Compost Heap

Around 30% of garbage we toss each week could be composted instead. This would be very good for the environment. By using a compost pile instead of a landfill it stops the buildup of methane gas.

If you don’t have enough room in your garden for a compost pile you can purchase a compost bin and place this on your driveway. Once the scraps have rotted down, you have a rich compost which can be used to sprinkle on your plants and trees.

In addition to having a compost pile, why not try to grow your own food in your garden! Growing your own vegetables can save a huge amount of carbon dioxide emissions! You get the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve grown your own food and that it is fresh.

Switch Off Your Appliances

A tremendous amount of electricity is wasted by electronic devices left on standby. For example, many people with game consoles leave them on standby. This is true for most of our instant on appliances. Turning these off at the plug when they are not in use will save you money.

If you are more serious about reducing your carbon footprint, then consider upgrading your old appliances for energy star rated ones. Energy star products use anywhere from 10-50% less energy than standard models.

Change out any incandescent light bulbs for a CFL bulb (compact fluorescent lamp). This will save over 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per bulb.

Use Eco Friendly Insulation

Both what you use for insulating your container and where you insulate your container can make a massive difference to the environment.Straw Shipping Container Insulation

Let’s start with which insulation to use.

Instead of using traditional fibreglass blanket insulation in the roof of your container, why not consider using a natural alternative like cotton insulation or GreenFiber Cocoon? GreenFiber Cocoon is created out of recycled newspaper and is relatively inexpensive.

If cotton isn’t your style, you could use straw to insulate your walls. La Milpa, a Mexican school, has recently built large sections of their school out of shipping containers. They insulated the walls with straw.

Now, let’s talk about where to insulate.

Although it’s temping when constructing a container building to save money to only insulate your walls, in the long run this isn’t Eco friendly and will almost certainly cost you more money.

Instead you should insulate the walls, roof and underneath the container.

To insulate the underneath and walls of your containers, most of the time we’d opt for spray foam insulation. It can depend on the climate and individual circumstances. To insulate the roof, we’d choose one of the Eco friendly options mentioned above.

Insulation is not inexpensive but can pay you back in reduced heating and cooling bills within a few years.

Install Solar Panels

Depending on where you live, a typical solar panel system can save you an impressive amount of money off your yearly electricity bill.

In order to get the best value out of solar panels, it is best to have a south facing roof, ideally with no shade. If your roof has some shade, this isn’t a problem, but it needs to have clear sunlight on it for most of the day.

If you are seriously considering solar panels, you can ask the supplier to test your home first and they will give you an estimation of how much energy they expect the solar panels on your roof will produce.

Shipping Container Solar Panel

© Larry Wade

Like the sound of solar panels but don’t want to pay for them? Why not consider making them yourself?

Use Local Building Materials

A great way to cut down on your carbon footprint is to source your building materials locally. This will be easier for some of you than others.

If you live in Canada and are using oak to clad the external skin of your container, fantastic! But if you live in Dubai and you want to do the same, this will require you to source your materials from a long distance which would greatly increasing your carbon footprint. So, using your good judgment, investigate local materials that are similar that you could use instead.

This applies to building materials and also applies to the food you purchase. Try to only eat locally grown produce wherever possible.

Quick Points

  • Using carpets on wooden floors can save around 4-6% on heating bills.
  • Make sure your fridge is in the shade.
  • Make sure your bedding sheets are made from wool and not polyester.
  • Instead of taking a bath, try to shower to save over water.
  • Use an Eco friendly kettle or limit the boiling of water.
  • Wash clothes in cold water instead of warm water.
  • Don’t replace broken things. Try to repair them instead.
  • Make sure any drafty areas found in your container are sealed.
  • Replace any single glazed windows with double glazed windows.

Do you have any other great tips about how to make your shipping container home more Eco friendly? Tell us in the comments section below.

 

Comments
  1. ksna sol

    Quick question. I’m discussing with my group the idea of a community based on shipping container housing, and the question of energy consumption has come up several times (in terms of heating and cooling) and more importantly the delivery of the containers to the (community) site. The fear is the delivery of the containers (the miles traveled) at some point, start to make the use of containers as homes ecologically unfeasible?

    • Tom

      Hi Sol,

      Yes to an extent. But again as I’ve mentioned in previous articles it really varies on the distance you are to a port/container dealer and the current use of that container.

      Tom

      • ksna sol

        Thanks Tom. I think I’d read that. I was just being hopeful, throwing out a few feelers. So under the circumstance I’m guessing the best we could hope for is a distributor that isn’t located too far away from where we’re located.

        • Tom

          That sounds about right to me 🙂

          Tom

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