Shipping containers. They have many uses in the world of shipping–from containing shoe boxes to machinery to Microsoft Office boxes bound for country somewhere in the far corner of the world. They operate, generally speaking, on ships–those big aircraft carrier sized ships that linger in the Atlantic ocean while moving freight across deep waters.
They are big too; really big.
A standard 20′ shipping container can hold 1,150 cubic feet, while a 40′ high cube contains 2,700 square feet. For reference, that means a 20′ shipping container can hold around 3,600 shoe boxes and a 40′ high cube can hold over 8,400 boxes.
Shipping containers can last over 20 years, provided they are taken care of with new paint and regular maintenance. Because of this reason, many shipping containers are now being converted into housing, offices, and even hotels. They are useful as houses, as they are capable of withstanding 100 miles per hour winds on their own and 175 when tied to pylons.
Shipping containers make good use for individuals in hurricanes or tornadoes, making them useful to be built in locations along the coasts, such as in Florida, the Carolina, and even Louisiana. Building a housing structure out of a shipping container takes roughly 2-3 weeks in comparison to brick and mortar structure, which takes around 4-6 months to make.
Other statistics bear this along:
- Durable, steel shipping containers average a 25-year lifespan and require minimal maintenance.
- Container structures are inherently mobile, stackable, durable, weather-resistant, and typically require no foundation and average a 25-year lifespan.
- Some modular homes can be built in the factory and take 1-2 weeks to build.
These statistics and many others continue to show how container structures being used as housing have become more popular. 17 million people in the United States live in modular homes and a new modular hotel built out of shipping containers debuted in the United Kingdom just a few years back.
Their popularity has also risen due to the increasing eco-friendly or green movement that prioritizes the environment, helping the environment, not doing harm to the environment, and supporting the environment as movement goals. A popular topic of discussion in the green movement has to do with recycling and this where containers succeed.
Containers are the ultimate green structures. They are made from 85% recycled steel and are fully recyclable if demolished. Reusing them saves on new materials. This is another hint that they have become popular due to the rise of the green movement. Because they are recyclable, they fit in line with a part or tenet of sustainable living.
Sustainable living is a type of living or philosophy that advocates being part of a renewable system, such as in the case of a sustainable farm which relies on an actual ecosystem. Because of the rise of factory farms and other systems, the push back has been to go “green” or live according to sustaining principles.
One of the biggest leaders in the container manufacturing industry is a company called Conex. Conex boxes are often considered to be “steel shipping containers” and that could be the truth. Conex boxes, along the steel shipping containers, freight containers, or storage containers, they all refer to industrial steel shipping containers.
Like has been said for housing, there are many industries that use industrial steel shipping containers, such as Conex boxes. The farming industry uses them for weather-resistant and air-tight storage. The healthcare industry uses them for storing sensitive medical equipment and records. Construction, for on site offices and storage.
Storage containers, while primarily used for storage, can be used for a variety of uses, including on-site offices in construction, regular offices in the case of those looking to go the green route, and housing in terms of those who need it for weather resistant purposes.
Shipping containers are weather-resistant, they are durable, they are made of recyclable materials, they are big, long-lasting, and they are useful when even forming 1200 square foot houses; this occurs when four 40′ foot units are placed in a square shape, creating a three bedroom home.
They are a good option for those looking to bypass the four to six month process that it takes to build a standard house; modular houses only take 1-2 weeks to roll out of the factory.