Rising costs of homes have made the American dream of home ownership a nightmare for many. Home building prices in 2019 are expected to range from $150, 118 to $435,029 according to Home Advisor. A luxury home could land in the range of $720,000 easily. These high price tags may leave many without the ability to buy. An alternative to created new homes from new materials is to utilize materials that are already existing. Repurposing materials is a method to not only lower cost but be environmentally conscious.

                                             Shipping Container Infographic by Tiger Containers

Shipping containers are the latest craze in repurposed home building. Shipping containers are rectangular boxes used to transport goods on voyages across the ocean. They are made fromthick steel to maintain integrity against long periods spent around salt water. There are two standard sizes of containers used for shipping: 20x8x8 ft and 40x8x8 ft. A 20 ft container has a surface area of 160 square feet and a 40 ft container is around 320 square feet. Of the shipping containers in the world an estimated 24 million stand empty and will no longer be utilized for transport. The structures are sturdy, flood and fire proof and made from long lasting materials. Using recycled goods to create homes is an efficient and less expensive means to create unique eco friendly homes.

The purchase price of shipping containers is low. A used container with no modifications can cost as low as $1500. New 20 ft containers range between $1500 and $2800. New 40 ft containers can cost between $3500 and $4500. Labor cost for construction are also low depending on the modifications required. Total labor costs on a shipping home can range from $10,000 to $15,000. Prefabricated options also exist. These options are already assembled in pieces that only require putting together like building blocks. This option reduces the opportunity for creative input but can reduce construction time and other labor costs. New container homes can be constructed at half the cost of a regular home in less time.

Purchasing multiple containers allows home owners to expand space and put individual touches on their living spaces. Shipping containers are built to be stacked. Modern designers cut and weld containers in various configurations to personalize homes. Across the globe many extravagant homes are constructed with shipping container basis. WFH house in Wuxi, China was designed by Arcgency, Esbensen Teknologistic Institute in 2012. The WFH house is a sustainable prefabricated, ecofriendly home. It is comprised of 40 ft containers that are transportable. Solar cells, a green roof and underground rain storage make the home fully self sustainable. The structure is also adaptable to earthquakes and climate change. The Caterpillar House in Santiago, Chile is crafted from 12 containers placed on a hillside. The placement of the containers eliminates the need for air conditioning systems. Instead the placement creates natural ventilation by using cool mountain air as a passive cooling system.

Building a home out of recycled goods may make luxury home ownership a more realistic option. Labor costs, adaptability of structures and sustainability makes shipping container home construction an attractive alternative to traditional home construction.

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