Alternative Green Construction

The more I experiment with construction using steel shipping containers as the basic building block, the more excited I become.

We just took delivery on two more 40′ X 20′ high cube containers from Atlanta.  That makes five now.  The first one is now a community center outfitted with a kitchen, sound system, 22′ wide movie screen and back stage for our outdoor amphitheater.   The next two are being converted to a big workshop with about 20′ of space between them and a standard sloped roof above.  From day one it was functional as storage and it’s wired up for lighting and shop equipment now.  We plan to insulate and install log siding, so when finished, it will look like a rustic log cabin.

Cost?  Only $1,600 each ($2,000 delivered).  That’s $5.62 per square foot of ready to use, super strong, water tight space.  Think about it; You would pay more than that just for good quality flooring  materials – uninstalled.  Of course, it’s not a finished living space, but the day it’s delivered and set on four corner piers or even some railroad crossties, it’s functional.  There are lots of things I have to do to make it a finished living space.  But I’m finding that I can easily retrofit containers myself with some rudimentary welding skills and some inexpensive used windows and doors.  With a little ingenuity, I can even find angle iron for framing super cheap or free by using discarded bed frames.

Benefits?  Well, start with low cost space.  But there are plenty more:

  1. Low Cost:  as detailed above.  There are literally thousands of these things piling up at the ports because it’s cheaper to make new ones in China than to ship them back empty.
  2. The benefits to the environment of recycling  (less rusting junk in dumps, less energy expended to crush, melt and otherwise repurpose thousands of unused containers, Fewer resources used to harvest new materials (wood, steel, etc.)
  3. Structural Strength:  These things are built to withstand hurricane force winds on the high seas and marine-painted to handle saltwater air.
  4. Convenience:  Ready to use storage space that requires no footings or foundation for temporary use.  Easy to convert with rudimentary skills – at your leisure while they are being used for storage.

If you’re interested in seeing real examples of a great new way to build, call us for an appointment at the Village.  While you’re at it, check out the other sustainable projects;  things like

  • an off-grid rainwater collection system that supplies all our water needs.
  • Organic community gardens, orchards and greenhouse
  • Bio-Diesel driven Listeroid Generator
  • Wood Gasification system that powers generator engines with wood
  • Hydro-electric generator powered by the creek at our 50′ waterfall.

Then, take a hike through primeval forests to Sewanee Creek.  Spend a day and you will want to spend a lifetime in harmony with nature and people.

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