Archive for the ‘Eco Friendly’ Category

Is Shipping Container Housing Worth It?

The international “go green” movement has led architects everywhere to abandon traditional building processes in favor of recycling and reusing to create new structures, like storage container homes. Shipping containers are some of the most durable and versatile structures available on the storage market, so yes, it’s totally possible to set up life inside of one and create a house from shipping containers—in fact, architects have even created huge dormitory apartment complexes from stacked shipping containers.

The eco-friendly-minded idea behind using containers for unconventional applications is giving new lives to shipping containers sitting without a purpose in storage yards. Because most containers are made in Asia, thousands of these units come through major ports every day. And since countless containers lay useless after their initial task of shipping overseas, inspiring creative thinkers everywhere to brainstorm different use ideas to put the abandoned boxes to work. You can gets your hands on one of these used containers through Container Alliance.



Despite the impressive strength and resilience of shipping containers for on-site storage, people have began discussing the drawbacks to using these structures that are made for something else. Ultimately, the time and money required to make a suitable home out of the container adds up to a large commitment—but one that, for many people, is worth signing on for.

Why Build a House from Shipping Containers?

Most customers’ primary motivation behind the conversion of shipping containers into homes is the eco-friendliness of the idea. Instead of using up new wood, cement, plaster, etc, these storage container homes take something that already exists and turn it into something new and livable.

The birthright and main purpose of the shipping container presence around the US remains shipping cargo, yet after their initial trip, most containers don’t get back at sea. That’s why containers become abandoned and may sit unused in yards for years. Building a house from shipping containers allows you to recycle in a much larger way than separating papers and aluminum cans from waste.

Building with a container can be much more cost-effective than traditional means. Unless it’s a vintage boutique, buying clothes from a used clothing store is generally worlds cheaper than buying new. Building houses works the same way, as the reusability of shipping containers translates in prices that are generally lower than building via traditional processes.


Containers are about as reliable as storage structures can get. Because their initial job was to transport cargo overseas, shipping containers are made to withstand the worst conditions that Mother Nature will throw at them. While one trip containers are highest quality structures available on the container market, even used containers can have incredible resilience after a few modifications. All of these boxes did last a long trip overseas, after all.

Why is it a Bad Idea?

Spending extended periods of time within a shipping container means potential exposure to dangerous chemicals that the container was either created with or utilized to transfer. This can come from certain paints or contaminated materials stored inside of the box. To avoid this potential predicament, it’s a good idea to order a one trip container or in refurbished condition.

Buildings created for retail use usually fall under the United States’ Uniform Building Code, and so do houses, depending on whether the home was created by a third-party company that converts containers into homes for the customer. However, many do-it-yourself projects may lead to people missing out on certain regulations designed to translate into adequate living conditions.

Shipping containers have interiors, exteriors, and bases made of metal, which means that they are fantastic heat conductors. This quality requires inner regulation via heating and AC systems to avoid hot and cold extremes.


As the quality, and amount of modifications, of the container escalates, so does the price—that said, new and refurbished containers will be a lot more expensive than the “as-is” used containers sitting on lots, but these containers are essentially the only ones that are livable.

The bottom line is the price you will pay for a used shipping container can end up doubling once the necessary adjustments are made. This will usually still add up to less than building a small house via regular means, but will involve a lot more unconventional work, which is especially the case with many state-of-the-art container homes that are gaining recent attention. If your main goals are cost-effectiveness, you may want to consider something that will be less trouble, but in the interest of decreasing waste, shipping container housing is gold.

To speak with one of our sales representatives about purchasing a used container today, call 800-386-2345 or request a quote now.

How to Make a Cheap & Easy Shipping Container Pool

So, your daughter or son wants a swimming pool. You’re also into the idea of a natural way to cool off during those sweltering summer days. Now you can expect to pay a minimum of $20,000 for an in-ground pool.

Why make such a permanent and wallet-burdening commitment when purchasing a shipping container that is easily transportable amounts to a fraction of the price? With a shipping container swimming pool, you will hardly make a dent in your savings, and it can actually be a great bonding activity for families.20' Container

City-dwellers have been beating the heat by dipping into dumpsters for several years now, giving new lives to once-trash-filled vessels. You can do the same with a shipping container pool in a suburban backyard, making the family happy despite the lack of space or money for a fully-fledged pool.

Using a shipping container is perfect for the job; generally, you will purchase water-tight containers, and you can place them inside of a pit or simply at ground level. Their unbeatably durable structure makes the ideal base for the modifications necessary to create your own summer oasis—they’re about as secure as you can get. Given that shipping containers are built to withstand travel & weather conditions across the ocean, what better fixture for your backyard than a shipping container swimming pool?

DIY Shipping Container Swimming Pool, via theepic:

  1. DE-ROOFING: Either confirm that your container will come to you sans-roof, or remove it yourself.
  2. WATERPROOFING: Be sure your container is welded watertight. Obtain good paint, and after priming  (but before applying the final coat) apply a marine-grade epoxy.
  3. STRUCTURING: Ring container with steel channel, and add plating to keep water in the pool.
  4. PLUMBING: Consult a pool store to purchase and install the pump, filter, heater, etc that any chlorinated pool requires.
  5. FINE-TUNING: Paint the inside and outside of the container, and add a couple ladders, depending on personal preferences.

Get your shipping container pool process moving by scoping out Container Alliance’s shipping container selections, which you can expect to be water-tight and ready for application of marine-grade epoxy. Contact us by calling 800-386-2345 or stay online to get a quote today. Set up your shipping container swimming pool before those warm days of late spring, and enjoy it all summer long!

Emergency Relief and How Shipping Containers Can Help

It’s no secret that shipping containers can do a lot more than just ship cargo overseas—for quite some time now, they have functioned as homes, workplaces, and retail space to many. However, one particular purpose that they seem tailor-made for is providing shelter in times of disaster, replacing flimsy makeshift shelters with steel durability.

Impervious to the weather conditions that would take down a lot of weaker buildings, the original purpose of shipping containers as transporters of goods across the unpredictable seas makes them virtually indestructible. Additionally, their transferrable nature makes them ideal for situations involving temporary living space.

The Clean Hub

A real-world example of these functions in action is The Clean Hub, a self-sustaining source of clean water, electricity and sanitation. The Clean Hub displays the ability of creating homes from shipping containers to deliver living assistance in a stable yet portable fashion.

The need for temporary solutions in times of emergency oftentimes causes people to resort to band-aid shelter solutions that prove to be weak living spaces. Shipping container shelters not only have the strength to endure the wrath of Mother Nature; they also live forever, unlike even the most “weather-resistant” tents.

The Clean Hub is a success story of a low-maintenance container-built structure. Their first prototype was first put to work in 2007 at the Farmer’s Market in New Orleans, an experiment that resulted in plans for an immunization center, a maternity clinic, a theater, and a community center. The evident versatility of this structure demonstrates its clear effectiveness in satisfying basic survival needs.

The Clean Hub

The Clean Hub

Open Architecture Network

Green Container International Aid

Green Container International Aid is a German organization existing with just this purpose, aiming to turn abandoned shipping containers into villages for people in need. The organization estimates that there are 17 million shipping containers around the world that are no longer in use—and they’re on a mission to track them down to provide reliable & durable homes from shipping containers to replace homes that have been wiped out by the elements.

This organization operates via donated or discovered shipping containers that have been sitting unused by turning them into collections of shelters to help out groups of people affected by large-scale disasters, such as the destructive Haiti earthquake of 2010. This process of recycling containers also reduces waste, giving jobs to empty containers taking up space.

Sometimes, even when building new traditional homes is a physical option, disaster victims are mentally unable to live in them because of their developed distrust in conventional permanent building structures (also known as concrete-phobia), as noted on the Green Container International Aid website. After the Haiti disaster of 2010, some of the people who retained their homes chose to sleep in tents out front because they feared that their homes would not hold up.

Shipping container shelter can bring the security and peace-of-mind that disaster victims need, whether they’re being used as short-term or long-term housing.

Green Container International Aid

Green Container International Aid

Green Container International Aid

Utilize Containers to Save Lives Today

New, used and refurbished containers are available for purchase, with many options of adding modifications to help prepare a container for its new life as a living space that can go anywhere. If you are part of a humanitarian organization and need a shelter solution for a large group of displaced people, creating homes from shipping containers is the trusted answer when in need of resilient and portable housing.

Shipping Containers: Your Solution for Cramped Student Housing

College degrees have never been more in demand, and accommodating the huge waves of new students with living space can grow costly and complicated.

Architects and designers around the world know that storage container living makes both a sustainable and attractive solution for situations where space is tight.

The college dormitory is a classic circumstance in which a simple shipping container can make the construction of student housing a lot more seamless. When a freshman class is larger than expected, university planners are forced to either pack students like sardines in existing structures—oftentimes putting three occupants in rooms that are designed to be doubles—or begin the complicated and expensive process of building new traditional dorm structures from the ground. Save time and money with shipping container dorms!

Several universities in Europe, as well as one in South Africa, have discovered the possibilities of turning shipping containers into fully functioning living spaces for college students. Schools worldwide are faced with the task of housing thousands of students, calling for cost-efficient and space-efficient architectural solutions.

Shipping containers fit the bill—and then some. Not only do they allow developers to save money and space; they also promise security and durability, lasting for years with minimal upkeep. Containers are also easy to transport.

See how architects around the world have utilized shipping containers to contain their students.


Exclusively using abandoned and recycled materials, a group called Citiq Developments has turned unused grain silos into student housing for 400 students. They perched four stories of stacked shipping containers atop the silos in this project called Mill Junction in Johannesburg.

The eco-friendly nature of this building’s structure doesn’t stop on the outside. Citiq estimates the building’s features to decrease energy by 50 percent in comparison to a conventional building. The indispensible shipping container parts of the greater structure allow for long-standing sustainability that matches this energy-conserving efficiency.

Supplemental to the basic living spaces inside of the containers are communal kitchens, Wi-Fi, study space, a gym, and other recreation rooms. A colorful and inviting roof offers more lounge space, allowing for sprawling views of the city. This is not the first or last shipping container housing project in Johannesburg, but it still serves as an innovative example of the extent to which shipping containers prove to be logical design solutions.



CROU is another example of student housing transformed with shipping container dorms. This structure took “going green” to a couple different levels, recycling used containers to hold its students as well as choosing containers that are literally green. The structure is also designed to save 20 percent more energy than normal structures.

Olgga Architects created “CROU” in Le Havre, France, arranging 100 shipping containers into pyramid-like structures. Each individual container makes one room for a student, including a kitchenette, dining area, bathroom, desk, and bed, utilizing the seemingly small space into comfortable storage container living with everything student life requires.

Le Havre is also home to the second busiest port in France, making it no surprise that “CROU” is not the only shipping container student housing project in the city. Hundreds of shipping containers become available portside after their original jobs are done.


Cité a Docks is a four-story building in this same city, also turning 100 shipping containers into student apartments. Cattani Architects equipped each 258 square-foot room with bathrooms, kitchens, free Wi-Fi, and heat and sound insulation. The effective arrangement of the containers counteracted potential fallouts of container structures, allowing for strategically placed open spaces and common areas.

Although this container complex is painted in what many would perceive as a dreary gray, the architects say that the metal structure allows for easier distinguishing between the different containers, making for a cohesively attractive total design.



A Dutch developer was presented with the project of creating homes for an influx of students left on their Amsterdam university’s housing waiting list, but on a site that required relocation after five years. With a need for stable housing with convenient mobility, he turned to none other than shipping containers as his primary building blocks for the structure.

This developer, Quinten De Gooijer, took the idea of sustainable storage container living to the next level, converting not 100 but 1,000 containers into individual apartments rentable to students. He aimed to create eco-friendly, affordable housing for Dutch students without sacrificing quality.

At full price, students can rent a container at about $600 per month with all utilities included, and with the government rent subsidies that students are entitled to; the rent is only about $400 per month. As this price is for the entire container, perfectly adequate living space, the model of housing allows students to live comfortably for affordable prices without roommates.


Whether you need to house 1,000 students or just want your own sustainable and portable living space, consider purchasing a new or used container to create the home right for you. Container Alliance can hook you up with a new or used container with the modifications needed to make your container your own.

They Made a City of Containers—And You Can Too:
Utilizing Containers for Retail

A group of developers in San Andrés Cholula, Mexico has taken the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) to a new level. The innovative designers have created a “city” with buildings made strictly with recycled shipping containers and topped them off with a plethora of reused materials.

“Los containers,” as it’s called by the locals, prides itself on principles of sustainability and style, maintaining a vibrantly cohesive design throughout its connected art galleries, restaurants, bars, boutiques, bakeries, dry cleaner and bus depot—all inside of shipping containers.

This 50,000-square-foot strip mall has all the makings of a hip hangout spot for anyone looking to spend a leisurely yet unconventional afternoon or evening.

Can’t make it down to Mexico? Take a few cues from Container City’s groundbreaking ideas in container renovation to learn how salvaged shipping containers are more of a solution than a compromise. Their out-of-the-box thinking reverberates and keeps customers coming—the idea is a hit. No matter the scale of your retail needs, containers make perfect structures for the aspiring restaurateur or pop-up shopper.

Container City street view

Here’s why:

1. Distinction. A container on the street dressed up as a café stands out from other buildings, and for a positive reason. In today’s age of amplified green-consciousness, people appreciate efforts at sustainability. Reusing containers reduces the waste of them. Not only will most people acknowledge this, they’re likely to be curious as to what’s inside the repurposed container.

 2. Portability. For someone trying to open up shop with little money, a permanent location is usually hard to find. If your retail space is in a container, however, it can move around just as easily as you can. The weather-resistant nature of containers also makes them functional anywhere from Florida to Alaska.

 3. Customizability. Unless you would prefer to receive it as-is, we can modify your container to suit you or your brand’s individual needs. A container can be equipped with heat/AC fixtures, roll-up doors, windows, skylights, shelves—and if we haven’t done it before, we’ll work with you to make the container the perfect space for whatever you’re selling.

Sailing Teams Utilize Containers in Many Unique Ways

containers for sailing events

The sport of sailing brings unique challenges for many teams.  Many teams have struggled to find the most cost effective, safe and dependable way to deal with logistical concerns, secure storage at races, and portable workshops to make adjustments at the race.  Sailing teams have discovered that ISO shipping containers are the best way to transport gear and often the boats to the race course, and when the race repositions to the next race or back home.

Container Transportation for Sailboats

america's cup trainFrom big to small sailboats utilize shipping containers to transport from port to port throughout the world:  in Oct 2013 the Moth World Championships are being held in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.  Being that a large number of these competitors are from Australia, the logical transportation solution was to come together as a group and ship 45 of these moth boats in a 40’ Shipping Container as reported by Sailing Anarchy . On the larger size the owners of boats competing in the popular world wide one design class Farr 40s complained for years about expensive shipping costs being that the boats had to be shipped in cradles and did not fit into any type of ISO Shipping Container.  Farr Boats went to the drawing board to produce a boat that would fit inside a 40’ Flat Rack Container with the Farr 400.

Portable Workshops and Storage for Race Teams

sailboat work shops in containersShipping Containers repurposed to be used as modular workshops is a perfect way to work from the dock the ease of locking the door and walking away when you are finished, is most ideal.  We find that many of our sailing customers purchase containers that are surveyed as cargo worthy containers utilized to ship sails, spare parts and hardware along with rigging material to prepare the boat for racing when it arrives at the venue.  In addition to the safety and security of the containers for storing all the pieces that are needed to insure the race program is a success, the containers are also often utilized as a workshop to repair and rebuild things that often break under the rigorous ocean conditions.  The shipping containers can easily be customized and often these customized containers or modified containers can be surveyed and certified as well for ocean transportation.

Venues Utilizing Shipping Containers

Now that the race is over.. Sails are all folded to perfection.. Debriefing is done.. Time to go decompress and have a beverage in containers that have been assembled as a portable venue that contains a retail store, lounge area, upper deck and two bars.  Architects, engineers, event planners have been googly eyed over the astonishing, affordable uses of containers as well as how cool the industrial feel of these containers brings to the venue.

shipping containers at venues

Cargo Containers – The Environmental Impact

International Cargo Transport and The Environment


The cargo container has revolutionized the way the global economy works and has not only created a more efficient method of international trade, it’s become an underlying constant to stem growth of international gross domestic product.  It’s commonly talked about how the invention of the cargo container has had this huge impact, but the effects on our environment, not always bad, have also been significant and should be addressed.

One of the most positive aspects of the shipping container when it comes to global transport is the fact that these cargo boxes are manufactured to be some of the strongest modular structures in the world and therefore the amount of cargo that one unit can carry over it’s lease term is astounding.  These ocean freight containers are being built to carry cargo, and do so for 10 years or more. After, these containers can become part of an entirely new world of shipping container structures including portable storage space, portable offices, disaster relief shelters, dorm rooms and housing, just to name a few.  Point being is that the shipping container is the epitome of recycling and re-purposing.  There is something to be said for one structure that is manufactured in Asia carries cargo for huge multinational companies for more than a decade and is then re-purposed multiple times, all the while having the potential of being someones home one day! We can learn from this concept, though not a new one, it seems to be lost in translation on smaller scale efforts.  Some of these gigantic manufacturing industries need to be more conscientious of their product from the outset, creating something that can be used through multiple phases, with many different functions.

Environmental Impacts of Shipping Containers


Going over percentages and numbers as they relate to Cargo Container Ships and Maritime transport can be staggering at first glance and is often misleading.  Cargo Container Ships are actually some of the most carbon efficient means of transporting cargo –  and with most of the world’s manufactured goods being carried by ship, this process is most definitely on the right track.  The increased efficiency has also led to environmental benefits associated with the movement of cargo.  Regulatory efforts on emissions by the World Shipping Council (WSC)  are also leading to what could be drastic change in the output of Co2 and other harmful gases

One of the primary concerns with Cargo Container Transport has been Vessel Discharge.  Ballast water, gray and black water are all forms of discharge that are routinely released off the liners.  The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a set of guidelines that will help regulate vessel discharge to an extent where the impact on invasive marine species is lessened significantly.


repurposed shipping container

Shipping containers repurposed for housing

Millions of cargo containers are used throughout the international supply chain and are used and re-purposed many many times after their shipping life has expired. Cargo containers have created an auxiliary industry for containers and their uses. We’ve seen and created some incredible container modifications using a variety of one-trip and used containers. Container Alliance works through a trusted network of companies that work throughout the United States to provide exceptional quality shipping containers for sale or rent, for any purpose or project. Beyond re-purposing, it is now possible to recycle almost 99% of most containers to make new steel products. The international cargo shipping industry has taken the container and created a streamlined product that end users have embraced as an affordable, viable and environmentally sound method for mobile storage of goods.

New Materials

Floors of cargo containers have typically been manufactured using tropical hardwoods.   It takes approximately two cubic meters of hardwood to floors for three 40 foot containers.  The cargo container industry uses roughly 1.5 million cubic meters of hardwood per year to meet global demand.  There is an obvious change that needs to take place within this area of the container world.  Some of the largest shipping lines have vowed to only buy containers that use “responsible forestry” in their manufacturing.  Change has already started to take place with more sustainable floor types being used and new products being tested constantly.

This is all we can hope for, is that the industry recognizes their misgivings and works diligently to alleviate the problems that have severe impacts on our environment. Since 2007, Container Alliance has adopted, Reduce – Reuse – Recycle as our core environmental philosophy in regards to shipping containers. Learn how used cargo containers can help your business reduce waste, transportation costs, and more.

Creative Uses – Grandfolia 40′ Modified Storage Container

Grandfolia is a locally owned and operated business that designs, sells, leases and maintains interior plant-scapes for the Santa Barbara, CA and Ventura, CA areas. Container Alliance can undoubtedly agree that having plants has a calming effect and can change a drab space into an area full of vitality. Grandfolia makes this a reality. Recently, Grandfolia requested to have Container Alliance create a storage and workshop space from a 40 foot container.

Container Alliance went to the drawing board with a used 40’ shipping container and created corrugated French doors from the containers siding. Container Alliance also added two skylights equally placed on the roof to allow natural light into the modified shipping container. After modifications were finished the container was painted bright white in order to reflect UV rays off the container to keep the interior cooler during daylight hours. This converted shipping container houses all the supplies that need to be kept in a dry and safe place. This modified shipping container provides a huge amount of storage space on the nursery grounds in an economical way. Instead of building something from raw materials, Grandfolia saw value in creating something that is from recycled material that can be moved to another location if necessary. Container Alliance modified a steel-shipping container, which is now being used for a different purpose all together. In a fraction of the time, Grandfolia refurbished a shipping container for an effective storage solution that is guaranteed to be wind and water tight and secure. This converted shipping container is also beneficial in terms of a storage solution, because containers are transportable; If Grandfolia ever needs to move the storage container to another location on their property or transport it somewhere else it can be done with ease.

We are thrilled to see the unique ideas our customers have for their businesses using custom container buildings. Make your business stand out and prosper, consider creating a custom container with Container Alliance!

Grandfolia provides beautiful plants and flowers to local residential and office locations they provide a product and service that must be dependable, as plants tend to diminish if not cared for properly. Grandfolia is known for quality products and service and will be providing quality for years to come. For more information please visit

Author: Alex Wilson, Container Alliance Co.

Reusable Sustainable Shipping Containers for lease and Sale

shipping containers sustainability                  The Container Alliance’s Shipping Sustainability Strategies Are –                                                                 Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle

Container Alliance understands what it means to be “sustainable and green.” Since 2007, we’ve been in the business of reducing waste, transportation costs, energy expenditures and storage needs by reusing our shipping and storage containers for countless uses.

The nature of our business model, selling, leasing, and releasing storage containers and shipping containers, could be considered one of the newest and fastest growing sustainable businesses. Container Alliance is happy to help businesses, large and small, with logistics help and direction through our container management services featuring sustainable shipping containers. We work with some of the largest leasing companies and shipping lines to re-purpose the containers that are coming off lease as well as working with an individual who no longer has a use for the storage container or shipping container that they already own. We approach each situation with the same attitude and philosophy regardless of the size or situation.

Our companies’ philosophies for environmental responsibility can best be described with three words: Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. More details of our sustainable process are listed below.

Reduce Organic Material Consumption

Container Alliance’s containers or any ISO container for that matter can decrease the need for one-way packaging, as well as for straps, wooden pallets, and other moving materials that usually end up in landfills as the final step in their production process. Our reusable shipping containers reduce the unnecessary use of wood, trees, and the organic and inorganic materials used in packaging.

Reuse Storage And Shipping Containers

Each and every Container Alliance shipping & storage container is reusable for multiple customers’ benefits. When shipping containers make their way back to a Container Alliance Partner, we inspect, repair, clean, and store those same containers for the next client’s intended use. If they come back damaged beyond repair, these containers are sent to our recycling partners to ensure the reuse of the materials in a next generation of products.

We will buy back containers from not only leasing companies or shipping lines but from end users or small businesses. Contact Us today for a buyback estimate.

Recycle Storage And Shipping Containers

Container Alliance Partnerships is committed to keeping our shipping containers from ending up in landfills or littering the countryside. When we replace old shipping containers for our clients we offer a free service that includes transporting the container to the nearest recycling center where the containers are broken down into raw material to be re-used or recycled.

This service provides a huge savings of time and energy for our clients, so they don’t have to worry about disposing of it themselves and insures that they will be disposed of properly in an environmentally sound facility. This is our way making our planet a more sustainable place.

Contact Container Alliance for Reusable Shipping Container Rental Pricing and Container Management services and information.

Give us a call at (888) 856-5084 for more information about our shipping container rental services and container management solutions, or click on this link to Get a quote now.