5 Incredible Off Grid Shipping Container Homes Blog Cover

5 Incredible Off Grid Shipping Container Homes

Posted By: May 24, 2016 In Featured

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

One of the biggest advantages of building with shipping containers is that they are so flexible and portable.

This means that shipping containers can be used to build homes in some pretty remote areas, including places where typically you just can’t build homes!

It’s been truly incredible to see the growth of container homes over the last decade or so, and some of the innovation and creative ideas we’ve seen continue are remarkable.

In this article, we’ve collected our five favorite off grid container homes.

Each home has been selected for different reasons. Some are included just for their pure wow factor and others for their creativity and cost savings.

#1 Tiny Off Grid Shipping Container Home

The first in our list is Brenda Kelly’s shipping container home.

For those of you who have been following us for a while now, you will remember Brenda from a previous shipping container home interview we did with her.

Since then Brenda has been very busy and she has decided to upgrade from her existing 20-foot container home. Brenda’s new home is constructed from a larger 40-foot shipping container plus a 20-foot container.

The container home has been built on the side of a steep hill. Due to the container’s structural integrity, cheaper timber pile foundations were used instead of concrete piers.

This new shipping container home provides around 500 square feet of living space.

The larger of the two containers hosts the kitchen and the main bedroom. The smaller container is used as an office, though this could easily be turned into another bedroom.

What’s incredible about this container home is that it is completely off grid and produces all the electricity it needs from the bank of solar panels on the roof. In addition, the roof is used to collect rainwater which is used within the home as a source of fresh water.

#2 Redwoods Shipping Container Cabin

Originally, Kam Kasravi and Connie Dewitt were going to build a traditional prefab home on their plot of land in the Santa Cruz mountain area.

However, they soon realized that because of the narrow lanes that led to their land this type of home wouldn’t fit. This is when they turned to shipping containers.

Because shipping containers are only eight feet wide, they could easily fit down the narrow lanes. Kam and Connie’s dream of a cabin in the forest could begin!

One of the great advantages of shipping container homes is how fast they can be stacked. As you can see in the video, Kam and Connie’s containers were delivered and placed on the foundation pads in under eight hours!

Throughout the home, spray foam insulation was used to keep the rooms as wide as possible. They decided to leave the container’s ceiling and floors bare to show off the industrial look of the containers.

Finally, as anyone from that area will know, it is possible to experience earthquakes! This is one reason they decided to build with containers. They knew once secured in place the containers wouldn’t be moving anywhere.

If you want to know even more about this home and others, read interviews with owners.

#3 Underground Shipping Container Bunker

To our knowledge, the first underground shipping container home belongs to Steve Rees who lives out in California.

What’s so innovative about this design is that because the containers are completely buried underground the home is incredibly cool even during those extremely hot summer days.

During the winter, the earth around the containers helps to keep the heat locked inside the containers. This makes it a very efficient home to live in. Steve hasn’t paid a utility bill for years!

Two 40-foot high cube containers were used and provide Steve and his wife with around 640 square feet of living space.

To eliminate any lighting bills, solar tubes have been fitted throughout the containers. These tubes harvest the natural sunlight and project it down into the building.

One of the nicest features of the home are the huge oak beams. They are used as supports for where Steve has removed large sections of the container’s walls to connect them together.

The total cost for this build was just under $30,000 which comes out at around $47 per square foot.

#4 Off Grid Container Home with a Deck

Richie left the city life behind and bought a plot of land out in Australia, but he couldn’t afford to build a house after buying the land.

To save money, he decided instead to build a shipping container home. It cost him less than $45,000. This figure includes the $6,400 which he paid to purchase a brand new shipping container.

Richie built his new home using a single 40-foot high cube container. He managed to double the living space by building an outside deck area with a canopy on top.

There are two really impressive features with this particular container home. First, instead of welding the container to the foundation pads, this container was bolted. This means that Richie could move the container to another location later. Second, Boston ivy was planted onto the side of the container to act as a heat shield during the summer.

To insulate the container further, rock wool insulation was used in both the ceiling and walls to retain extra heat during the winter months.

#5 Off Grid Tiny Container Home for $4,000

The last home in our list is Lulu’s incredible tiny shipping container home.

Lulu built her home a few years ago and all told it cost about $4,000 to convert the container. This figure includes the insulation, drywall, internal fixtures and plumbing! Not only this, but it only took Lulu one month to convert the container.

She was given the container for free. A similar used 20-foot container would set you back around $2,000.

Watch the video of Lulu and her container home. You will pick up a lot of little tips and tricks. For instance, she used bubble wrap in between the container and the insulation panels. This helps to prevent moisture from spreading into the insulation!

For Lulu, her container home was a lifestyle choice. She didn’t want to be working 40+ hours a week and not see her young daughter. So she decided to leave the nine-to-five and live in a container home thus eliminating her rent costs.


We hope that after seeing what these incredible people have built using shipping containers that you are feeling inspired!

These people have shown that shipping container homes are affordable and can be fun to build. Get your creative juices flowing. You can now see that you too can build and live in your own shipping container home.

Let us know in the comments below if any of these homes inspired you to take the next step.

  1. Thomas Hudson


    I am very interested in doing this because i very much want to be self sustaining and have money for the future instead of just living and surviving from paycheck to paycheck. I really need some info for my area (Belleville Ontario Canada) as the land itself is too expensive i find in town and we don’t want to move to the country in the middle of nowhere as me and my wife do not drive and she would like to have the ability to get back and forth into town without any hassle. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thomas And Amy

  2. dingus48

    I would love to see an update Re-Lulu to see how she is doing now and if she extended her contaianer house All respect for her Managing the kids and building

    • Tom

      Hi Taylor,

      I will see what I can find and email you any updates.


  3. Bob barbour

    Hi Lulu,

    Container home looks brill, you have done a great job.