Using Shipping Containers for
Shipping containers are gaining more popularity as building blocks
for homes, and they can also be used effectively in underground
home construction. You may have seen finished shipping container
homes and not even realized it, because they are so versatile.
Whether you use single or multiple cargo containers, you can build
efficient homes underground.
A shipping or cargo container home that is earth-bermed is an
excellent way to have a house where the temperature is regulated,
and where air conditioning often is not even needed. Temperate
year- round conditions make underground shipping containers an
attractive idea in many climates.
Shipping containers are a positive choice for an underground
home. The containers are made from steel, so they are strong and
durable, and a smaller home can be just right for one or two people.
If you've lived in smaller homes before, these houses will not
seem much different.
If you like, you may wish to attach a greenhouse to your shipping
container home, although that will let in light, which will raise
the temperature. Solar or wind power can be used to keep your
underground home off the grid, but even with standard utilities,
these homes are energy-efficient.
Solar energy will provide your hot water, if you use it, and
you can harvest rainwater from the roof. You can also re-use water
for irrigating your landscape.
If you're in a remote area, your underground shipping container
home may need a septic system built. The equipment used to create
the underground area for your home can also be used for this purpose.
If you have the space and the zoning, you can set up an underground
shipping container on your land and turn it into a home over a
period of time. Emptying out your small trailer or mobile home,
you'll find similar space or more space available in your shipping
There are lots of advantages to building a shipping container
home underground. The earth is an excellent insulator, and you're
protected from storms. You won't have to shingle, side or paint
your house, and you can cover your site with a lawn or garden.
A one-bedroom single underground shipping container home will
hold three to five feet of soil on top, when steel rebar is used
to reinforce the roof. The rebar will distribute the earth load
over the entire top of your shipping container. The floor, walls
and roof should be insulated from soil, with enough insulation
to keep your home energy-efficient in any weather.
A two-bedroom underground shipping container home is similar
in design to the one-bedroom model, but it usually has a kitchen
that's a bit larger. You may opt for a home like this, and while
you'll lose some spaciousness, you'll gain security, economy and
You'll save a lot of money on utilities, and even more if you're
off the grid. You can use solar panels to generate all the electricity
you'll need, and if you have panels that swing up, they can adjust
to the best angle for solar efficiency.
This is a YouTube video of using a shipping container for building
an underground shelter. The same techniques could be used for
building an underground home as well.