Building with Shipping Containers
by Kelly Hart An idea whose time seems to have arrived is the use of stockpiled shipping containers as modular units for building homes. Because of the balance of trade in the United States, these hefty steel boxes are piling up in ports around the country and posing a storage problem. Several architects and builders are taking advantage of this surplus to recycle the containers. According to David Cross of www.sgblocks.com, "a container has 8000 lbs of steel which takes 8000 kwh of energy to melt down and make new beams etc... Our process of modifying that entire 8000 lbs of steel into a "higher and better use" only takes 400 kwh of electrical energy (or 5%). Each container measures 8 feet wide by 40 feet long by 9 feet tall. According to KPFF Consulting, a structural engineering firm in St. One idea that has occurred to me is that this system might benefit from the use of SIP's (Structural Insulated Panels) for the roofs, rather that standard truss framing.