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(Boing Boing)   7 reasons why shipping container homes are bad, they're bad, come on, bad, bad, really really bad   (boingboing.net) divider line
    More: Obvious, Containerization, Cloud computing, Container, Amazon Web Services, Mortar and pestle, Bloomberg CityLab reports, housing crisis, lightweight marvels  
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8293 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Sep 2020 at 11:35 AM (22 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-09-29 11:18:16 AM  
I want a couple to use as long term storage. Hell, I'd love one just to store stuff like my car ramps and spare wheels. It'd be nice to store all my camp gear somewhere not in my basement on racks too.
 
2020-09-29 11:27:10 AM  
About 50% of lumber is carbon, and basically all the carbon in trees comes from the atmosphere, from CO2.  When you build a house, however many tons of wood you use, you're sequestering 50% of that weight of carbon, saving the world from that much CO2.
 
2020-09-29 11:28:29 AM  
The idea that you are saving the environment when you use shipping containers and that is a highly sustainable practice. Another important thing to consider is the carbon footprint of your container home. Steel construction is not as environmentally friendly as wood.
These are not being manufactured as housing. They are being pulled from trash.
 
2020-09-29 11:30:48 AM  
Pro: Termite resistant.
Con: Rust Never Sleeps.
 
2020-09-29 11:31:29 AM  
The biggest reason is that they're a con to make people think they're really living in a home.

Meanwhile some of those mother in law kits cost 150K.

So much inequality in this society, there's really no excuse.
 
2020-09-29 11:37:40 AM  
In a lot of cases it's cheaper to leave the shipping containers at the destination as it costs more money to send empty containers back to their point of origin.  In that case it's no more or less harmful to the environment.
 
2020-09-29 11:37:48 AM  
One of my unrealistic dreams is to grown lettuce/reens  in one and sell it to local restaurants and make a living.  Actual lettuce and greens.

More realisitic version would be to grow my own veggies in one, or any greenhouse really.
 
2020-09-29 11:38:16 AM  
I mean, they are kind of cool in the same way doublewides make you the coolest cat in the trailerpark.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
2020-09-29 11:38:21 AM  
When I lived in a dumpster I didn't go around putting on airs about it being 'green'.
 
2020-09-29 11:38:48 AM  
These things are all over Houston and theyre ugly as shiat.
 
2020-09-29 11:40:02 AM  

buttercat: One of my unrealistic dreams is to grown lettuce/reens  in one and sell it to local restaurants and make a living.  Actual lettuce and greens.

More realisitic version would be to grow my own veggies in one, or any greenhouse really.


One of my unrealistic dreams is to connect them as the exoskeleton of a giant killbot that Strikes Dread Into All Who See It.

theinfosphere.orgView Full Size
 
2020-09-29 11:41:11 AM  

Subtonic: When I lived in a dumpster I didn't go around putting on airs about it being 'green'.


Not even when you were living in the dumpster outside that paint factory?
 
2020-09-29 11:42:16 AM  
By the time they're affordable to a budget conscious consumer, they're rusted hulks, that are expensive to ship, and require serious engineering and legal intervention to even get past the building inspector.  They've never been anything but a rich person hobby to put in their spacious back yards as an art experiment and to crow about how they're recycling.

There might be six people in the world, who live in a dry, warmish, semi anarchist region near a port who could benefit by converting a container into housing, and do it with any kind of efficiency.
 
2020-09-29 11:44:49 AM  
I rather live in that than rent a room at a trump hotel
 
2020-09-29 11:44:51 AM  

whidbey: The biggest reason is that they're a con to make people think they're really living in a home.

Meanwhile some of those mother in law kits cost 150K.

So much inequality in this society, there's really no excuse.


And yet, labor is the main driving factor in how expensive construction has become. Maybe pushing for everyone to make a living wage has some negative downstream effects?

cdn.vox-cdn.comView Full Size
 
2020-09-29 11:45:02 AM  
They have always been a scam the cost to turn them into something livable costs as much as building a house from scratch. The cost to make them energy efficient is even higher. A buddy turned one into a hunting cabin by adding a man door and a small wood stove but that's a far cry from a home. As storage they are great you can buy them and have them delivered for about $2k which is less than you'd pay for a shed half the size.
 
2020-09-29 11:47:58 AM  
And I thought that FEMA trailers were the worst. Who the hell came up with this idea?

I mean come on. The only rooms in my house less than 8ft wide are closets and pantries. And I have a crappy little Fox and Jacobs house from the eighties. You know, from back when every house didn't have to be a mini-mansion.

/now get off my tiny lawn.
 
2020-09-29 11:47:59 AM  
64.media.tumblr.comView Full Size


reluctantly agrees
 
2020-09-29 11:50:46 AM  

arrogantbastich: I want a couple to use as long term storage. Hell, I'd love one just to store stuff like my car ramps and spare wheels. It'd be nice to store all my camp gear somewhere not in my basement on racks too.


My dad bought one, $2500 to have it delivered. Needs painted still as it has large Chinese lettering on it but it's nice.

We built shelving up in there and it stays dry and has the airflow to keep the humidity down. Way better than an old school bus which is common in the area he lives hah
 
2020-09-29 11:51:12 AM  
One of the best overnight I ever spent was at a friend's storage container house on a steep hill/cliff overlooking the ocean.  Great party.

/csb
 
2020-09-29 11:51:16 AM  
The military uses something similar for temporary housing in Arid regions. I stayed in one for a few months 10 years ago. While I can agree they make decent temporary shelters, I wouldn't want to "live" in one as my home.
 
2020-09-29 11:53:00 AM  

whidbey: The biggest reason is that they're a con to make people think they're really living in a home.

Meanwhile some of those mother in law kits cost 150K.

So much inequality in this society, there's really no excuse.


Mother in law house?

Stand it on end and throw her in there.
The configuration of the walls will prevent her climbing out.
Leave the doors open so she can get sunlight and water.
 
2020-09-29 11:53:37 AM  
I always thought the geodesic dome kits looked nifty. Though I'm not sure how well any greenhouse does in the south with all the sun. I'd imagine you'd have to AC it. Whenever I see one of these cars converted, they are stuffed with grow lights.
https://growingspaces.com/
 
2020-09-29 11:53:39 AM  

Subtonic: When I lived in a dumpster I didn't go around putting on airs about it being 'green'.


Oscar?
 
2020-09-29 11:54:39 AM  
I know some people who raised about 20 or so Alpacas in Central Florida a few years back.
They had one of the shipping containers out in a field and bulldozed dirt up against it creating a small hill and hurricane shelter for the Alpacas.
They left it open most of the time and the Alpacas wandered in and out.  Mostly they just stood on the top of the hill though.
 
2020-09-29 11:55:19 AM  
ON the good side, it's fine to remove your tinfoil hat inside.

Also, and assuming it's secured well, I wonder if they might make a good tornado shelter. Buried it would be great of course. But maybe above ground as well? Maybe with a ring of wire mesh fencing to act as a Whipple shield.
 
TWX [TotalFark]
2020-09-29 11:59:27 AM  

arrogantbastich: I want a couple to use as long term storage. Hell, I'd love one just to store stuff like my car ramps and spare wheels. It'd be nice to store all my camp gear somewhere not in my basement on racks too.


Similar thoughts have crossed my mind.  I have a detached ~1000sqft workshop in the form of an oversized three car garage, but as my assembly of tools has grown it's been difficult to store everything while keeping the space usable.

the main incentives for me to consider a shipping container for additional storage are first, it's weathertight right from the outset, so the only things I would need to think about would be cosmetic, and second, because it's not technically a building, I might not have to deal with accessory-building permitting or percent of land under-roof based on my zoning.

Now all that said, because I live in a desert climate I'd have to be careful about what I'd store in it, lest the summer heat just wreck everything, or I'd have to modify it to insulate and possibly add some kind of climate control to it.  The latter might not be too ridiculous as I'm already looking at replacing the broken HVAC on the shop with a multizone ductless mini-split so making a shipping container into just another zone isn't necessarily out of the question.

Unfortunately it would be simply too small to use as proper woodshop at only 8' wide on the exterior, inside it's only about 7'8" wide.  It's not even big enough for a 4x8 sheet of plywood to run wide-dimension down the inside.  This means effectively it would only be storage, and now I'd have to keep it organized and would possibly have to regularly haul things in and out of it to use them.  If that's the case I may as well just build some kind of light corrugated lean-to structures out against the back fence and use tarps to keep the worst of the dust off of things, keep them out of what amounts to being an oven and keep the weather off of them.
 
2020-09-29 11:59:40 AM  

FarkBucket18: whidbey: The biggest reason is that they're a con to make people think they're really living in a home.

Meanwhile some of those mother in law kits cost 150K.

So much inequality in this society, there's really no excuse.

And yet, labor is the main driving factor in how expensive construction has become. Maybe pushing for everyone to make a living wage has some negative downstream effects?

[cdn.vox-cdn.com image 850x618]


Once this graph covers 2020 you will see a bizarre anomaly with lumber. I had heard people complain about high lumber costs but at the time didn't see any jump. Just looked again (a few months later) cost on it has spiked upwards 2-3x
 
2020-09-29 11:59:41 AM  

Pointy Tail of Satan: Maybe with a ring of wire mesh fencing to act as a Whipple shield.


groovyhistory.comView Full Size
 
2020-09-29 12:00:11 PM  

Ker_Thwap: By the time they're affordable to a budget conscious consumer, they're rusted hulks, that are expensive to ship, and require serious engineering and legal intervention to even get past the building inspector.  They've never been anything but a rich person hobby to put in their spacious back yards as an art experiment and to crow about how they're recycling.

There might be six people in the world, who live in a dry, warmish, semi anarchist region near a port who could benefit by converting a container into housing, and do it with any kind of efficiency.


I think SF is about 10 years away from having barges in the bay stacked high with "container apartment complexes"   They might use purpose-built modules that are already insulated, etc  (basically manufactured housing or trailers) but reinforced to stack 10-20 high.

When a bunk bed in a shared room can go for $3,000/mo *something* has got to give and as Hong Kong found out, when you run out of land, the next step is houseboats
 
2020-09-29 12:00:26 PM  

Pointy Tail of Satan: ON the good side, it's fine to remove your tinfoil hat inside.

Also, and assuming it's secured well, I wonder if they might make a good tornado shelter. Buried it would be great of course. But maybe above ground as well? Maybe with a ring of wire mesh fencing to act as a Whipple shield.


Ya know, giving your TP rolls a squeeze doesn't really damage them or anything like that.  No need to protect against Mr Whipple
 
2020-09-29 12:00:45 PM  

Ker_Thwap: By the time they're affordable to a budget conscious consumer, they're rusted hulks, that are expensive to ship, and require serious engineering and legal intervention to even get past the building inspector.  They've never been anything but a rich person hobby to put in their spacious back yards as an art experiment and to crow about how they're recycling.

There might be six people in the world, who live in a dry, warmish, semi anarchist region near a port who could benefit by converting a container into housing, and do it with any kind of efficiency.


Up in the mountains, far from the coasts, we are just too far from any port to make returning them economically viable. Up here in high desert we have a supply of new ones, as they get cheaper to buy the further you are from a port.
Also, the taller of the two types of containers have the clearance to maintain an 8' ceiling inside after they are built out. No legal intervention required - if they are the high bay units, building inspector classifies them as modular homes under existing rules.
-
So the trick is actually a dry, warmish region -AWAY- from a port. Then they work really staggeringly well.
-
If you live near a port and use one of these, you are correct in that it is mainly just rich people greendouching
 
2020-09-29 12:00:48 PM  

mark625: And I thought that FEMA trailers were the worst. Who the hell came up with this idea?


Eco idiots. I had a customer a few years ago that moved out from the city and wanted to heat her house with wood she collected naturally off the ground that way she wasn't harming the environment. She also didn't own a car so her plan was to go around with a small wagon collecting twigs and branches. Good luck surviving a Canadian winter burning twigs. I tried to talk her into replacing her broken furnace but she bought the wood stove instead and for all I know she froze to death. I deal with these people all the time they have an idea of how these things should work and no amount of facts will convince them otherwise.
 
2020-09-29 12:01:32 PM  
Printed houses will be a better long-term solution than refurbishing shipping containers.

Still, there are roughly 11 million idle shipping containers, and it would be nice to do something useful with them...
 
2020-09-29 12:04:30 PM  
Building homeless shelters out of wood is a really bad idea. Fire risk, etc.  Most grants disallow wood construction. Can't just tuck the homeless away in anything. Folks who are homeless are, in fact, human. So, yeah, scratch the homeless shelter idea from the list.

/Read the article
 
2020-09-29 12:08:50 PM  

Vhale: I always thought the geodesic dome kits looked nifty. Though I'm not sure how well any greenhouse does in the south with all the sun. I'd imagine you'd have to AC it. Whenever I see one of these cars converted, they are stuffed with grow lights.
https://growingspaces.com/


Built a bunch of these at camping events:
encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.comView Full Size


they can be made out of PVC , PVC connectors and pipe cement, to be super cheap and lightweight...but only good for about 5 years or so   or

If you are slightly handy, as in can work a drill press and a tube bender.  You can make  one out of EMT conduit pipe (avail at any home depot) that screws together quickly and lasts a LONG time:
$130 Geodesic Dome 2V Frame Build with conduit struts Part 2 (2020)
Youtube Y7A98DZOopM


this site has been around since Mabel was a canoe, but it's still got loads of useful info on how to construct domes from 1v to 6v and calculate the materials needed,

http://www.desertdomes.com/domecalc.h​t​ml
 
2020-09-29 12:12:27 PM  
The most interesting thing to learn from shipping container homes is not converting an existing container to a home, but to use the dimensions and lift points to build home modules that can then be shipped anywhere using existing transportation infrastructure and equipment. By modular I mean Lego-block modular, not double-wide "modular". One of the biggest advantages would be being able to build the modules in a climate-controlled factory where you won't deal with weather delays, material damage and such, resulting in predicable delivery schedules, lower finance costs, etc.

Dealing with uninsulated floppy steel walls and toxins, mold and other detritus get expensive fast.
 
2020-09-29 12:13:12 PM  
I thought the idea with these "houses" was to use more than one, if you're going to live in it full-time. Having 2 or 3 sitting next to each other, with doorways in between, might help. Trying to live out of one seems like a fool's errand, but putting a few together might yield enough sq footage to be comfortable, right?
 
2020-09-29 12:13:52 PM  

RTOGUY: mark625: And I thought that FEMA trailers were the worst. Who the hell came up with this idea?

Eco idiots. I had a customer a few years ago that moved out from the city and wanted to heat her house with wood she collected naturally off the ground that way she wasn't harming the environment. She also didn't own a car so her plan was to go around with a small wagon collecting twigs and branches. Good luck surviving a Canadian winter burning twigs. I tried to talk her into replacing her broken furnace but she bought the wood stove instead and for all I know she froze to death. I deal with these people all the time they have an idea of how these things should work and no amount of facts will convince them otherwise.


Right, some nut you claim to have known represents the whole of the sustainability movement.

I'm sorry progressive people irritate you.
 
2020-09-29 12:15:50 PM  
I have some wild acres out in the middle of no where.  I had one delivered and popped a wood stove in it.  it's weatherproof and secure but there is no airflow so it is awful in the summer.
 
2020-09-29 12:17:02 PM  
It's kind of ironic that steel container homes have little structural strength, yet are made of the same material commonly used for interior framework. Open a steel mill, recycle these suckers, and create jobs.
 
2020-09-29 12:19:04 PM  

FarkBucket18: I mean, they are kind of cool in the same way doublewides make you the coolest cat in the trailerpark.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I'll bet it sucks to be inside one when its hailing though.
 
2020-09-29 12:19:48 PM  

Tenatra: FarkBucket18: whidbey: The biggest reason is that they're a con to make people think they're really living in a home.

Meanwhile some of those mother in law kits cost 150K.

So much inequality in this society, there's really no excuse.

And yet, labor is the main driving factor in how expensive construction has become. Maybe pushing for everyone to make a living wage has some negative downstream effects?

[cdn.vox-cdn.com image 850x618]

Once this graph covers 2020 you will see a bizarre anomaly with lumber. I had heard people complain about high lumber costs but at the time didn't see any jump. Just looked again (a few months later) cost on it has spiked upwards 2-3x


Yup ... the lumber market has seen unprecedented volatility in 2020. It will settle down in early 2021 as more mills get turned back online and the hurricane season subsides.
 
2020-09-29 12:21:54 PM  

whidbey: RTOGUY: mark625: And I thought that FEMA trailers were the worst. Who the hell came up with this idea?

Eco idiots. I had a customer a few years ago that moved out from the city and wanted to heat her house with wood she collected naturally off the ground that way she wasn't harming the environment. She also didn't own a car so her plan was to go around with a small wagon collecting twigs and branches. Good luck surviving a Canadian winter burning twigs. I tried to talk her into replacing her broken furnace but she bought the wood stove instead and for all I know she froze to death. I deal with these people all the time they have an idea of how these things should work and no amount of facts will convince them otherwise.

Right, some nut you claim to have known represents the whole of the sustainability movement.

I'm sorry progressive people irritate you.


My business is based around energy efficiency and you can spend a whole lot of money to save very little money and comparatively little energy. If somebody wants to build a house out of old sea cans the only reason to do it had better be simply to keep them out of the trash.
 
2020-09-29 12:22:03 PM  

phaseolus: [64.media.tumblr.com image 500x296]

reluctantly agrees


THAT'S IT.
THAT'S THE KILLSWITCH.
 
2020-09-29 12:23:42 PM  
Is anything a good dwelling?

Here is a test.

Can you rent it out as a quaint bed and breakfast anywhere?

If no, then not.
 
2020-09-29 12:24:22 PM  

mark625: And I thought that FEMA trailers were the worst. Who the hell came up with this idea?


What I think happened is the price of scrap tanked.  There are people who had yards full of them and would scrap them when the price was right.  China stopped taking scrap and the people had acres of containers that were worthless and had to figure out something to do with them.
 
2020-09-29 12:26:27 PM  

RTOGUY: whidbey: RTOGUY: mark625: And I thought that FEMA trailers were the worst. Who the hell came up with this idea?

Eco idiots. I had a customer a few years ago that moved out from the city and wanted to heat her house with wood she collected naturally off the ground that way she wasn't harming the environment. She also didn't own a car so her plan was to go around with a small wagon collecting twigs and branches. Good luck surviving a Canadian winter burning twigs. I tried to talk her into replacing her broken furnace but she bought the wood stove instead and for all I know she froze to death. I deal with these people all the time they have an idea of how these things should work and no amount of facts will convince them otherwise.

Right, some nut you claim to have known represents the whole of the sustainability movement.

I'm sorry progressive people irritate you.

My business is based around energy efficiency and you can spend a whole lot of money to save very little money and comparatively little energy. If somebody wants to build a house out of old sea cans the only reason to do it had better be simply to keep them out of the trash.


Net zero homes are always my favorite. Let me build a home that costs - literally - double what a normal home costs to save $200/month in utility costs. Man, good luck with that payback period.
 
2020-09-29 12:29:24 PM  
Yeah. They don't want you living cheaply. OBEY. CONSUME. REPRODUCE.
 
2020-09-29 12:30:32 PM  

FarkBucket18: I mean, they are kind of cool in the same way doublewides make you the coolest cat in the trailerpark.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


When I was younger, I had a friend in Iowa that lived in a double-wide. It was bigger and nicer than the actual house I lived in at the time. The biggest problem with trailer parks are usually the other people that live in them.
 
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