Net-Zero Prefab Shipping Container Home by Missouri S&T

Net-Zero Prefab Home
About Missouri S&T Solar House Design Team

Design: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Project: The Nest Home
Year: 2015
Photos: Mike Chino

Three shipping containers were used by Missouri University of Science and Technology students for construction net-zero prefab shipping container homes that have reasonable prices and they are safe. A bird’s nest became an inspiration for choosing the shape of the Nest Home, for building of which recycled materials were used. There are also several sustainable systems, such as efficient lighting, a hydroponic garden and grey water reuse. Solar panels provide the house with enough energy for all needed aims and an electric vehicle. During Solar Decathlon 2015 international competition this project was created. Solar Decathlon challenges student teams to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house.

The Nest Home was constructed for a growing family. The net-zero prefab shipping container home includes private and common spaces, but the living space can be enlarged with the help of containers that can be added to the Nest Home. There are reused materials, from which made everything in house. For example, the wood siding is made from refurbished shipping pallets, the carpeting is made from reused fishing nets and insulation is made from recycled denim batting.

For powering the house and an electric vehicle there are 24 photovoltaic panels. Each panel contains a micro-inverter for transforming direct current to alternating current, and a centralized inverter is not required. The optimal temperature in the house maintains by automated windows that support the HVAC system. There are also automated lightning for saving energy and sensors for detecting the empty house. Three hydroponic gardens provide the owners with fresh vegetables and herbs. The greywater reclamation helps to provide irrigation for the bathroom and the gardens. So, the water consumption of the net-zero prefab container home is reduced up to 25 percent.

“Everything from the architecture of the home, to the expandability of the home, to the systems in place are designed and implemented to provide comfort and convenience for the residents,” says Mary Puleo, the team’s project manager and an environmental engineering senior from St. Louis. “However, its adaptable nature makes it ideal for any stage of family life, from a full nest to an empty nest.”

PV14 - 2 Story 3 Bedroom Shipping Container Home, Dallas, Texas

Floor plans, facades and sections
Construction process
About M Gooden Design
About AG&E Structural Engenuity

ArchitectM Gooden Design
Structural engineer AG&E Structural Engenuity
Area3700 sf
LocationDallas, Texas, USA
PhotographyWade Griffith, Kurt Griesbach

This 3 bedroom shipping container home is located not far from White Rock Park, at the same street, and it is one of the highest elevations in Dallas, Texas, and it is about 100’ above White Rock Lake’s surface. The lake is just about 1,000 feet away to the southwest.

To create a unique design and to build a modern and unequalled house were the main purposes for the architects. The residence should be appropriate to the specific site and the technologies for house’s erection should be readily available, but at the same time not very often used in nowadays residence building. The house is a two-story single family residence which includes small penthouse with roof deck access. There are 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathrooms, ground level entertainment area, 2 car garage + storage bay, porte cochere, large roof deck with panoramic view and elevated covered porches adjacent to main living areas.

The majestic scenery of the lake, the trees all around it and the City can be seen from the 2 story shipping container home. And that is the main advantage of house’s high location and its axis is aligned with the City street grid to the Southwest.

The goal of elevation of living areas is to create more comfortable conditions for living, the designers wanted to separate the 3 bedroom shipping container home from the street traffic activity near the house and to make the views better.

The using of overhangs and porches is perfect decision for protecting windows from direct sunlight. And this clever solution helps also to capture the natural light, so it reduces energy bills. And nothing interrupts the picturesque scenery.

For reducing energy costs and extending the life of the roof the architects equipped the 3 bedroom shipping container home’s roof deck with a solar screen, applied to the insulated single-ply membrane.

The residence was built from concrete, steel structures, prefab steel modules - 40ft shipping containers, masonry and glass. All of these elements are combined and create really unique and comfortable design.

Shipping containers can help refugees - concept by Middelkoop Architecten

In the context of the influx of refugees to the Netherlands the returntainer has been developed. This container unit is designed and insulated so comfortable living is perfectly possible. The interior can be finished with insulated panels, kitchen and bathroom are also provided. Several units can be connected to provide larger family shelter.

The container unit is fabricated by removing the standard container doors and a few sections of sidewall. These details can be stored in order to be used again if a relocation will be desired. Regarding the location the container unit concept can be implemented on almost any temporary vacant lot or even in agricultural areas.

Made from high quality steel, shipping containers have excellent fire resistance. These properties are especially important for refugee camps and can save people's lives.

Contact us for more information about container homes.

return.tainer concept by Middelkoop Architecten

2500 sq ft Shipping Container Resort Home, Malaysia


Design: Anand Bungalows
Area: 2,500 square foot
Containers: 6
Year: 2010
Location: Malaysia
Photos: Ken Kwok

This awesome Container Resort Home was designed and built by Anand Bungalows in Malaysia and the construction includes natural ventilation, rainwater harvesting, plus water and energy efficient design.

The Container Resort Home is located in Bukit Tinggi, Pahang and it consists of six, stacked shipping containers – four of which are oriented south and north, and two oriented at an angle of 90° - west and east. The four 40 ft containers are stacked 2x2 to create a two-story volume with the windows and doors oriented to the north direction to form partial enclosures and shade for the windows and balconies. In between the two perpendicularly located container volumes, an intermediate double height atrium was designed and constructed allowing for proper natural ventilation – the windows on opposing sides encourage efficient cross ventilation and due to the air pressure difference a hot air rises naturally.

The home was built on a reinforced concrete pier foundation, has a light footprint and low impact to the surrounding land. Provided by the project the large shed roofs help to keep sun off the containers surface and minimize heat gain from direct sunlight, while directing and collecting rainwater into a large storage cistern located underneath the house. The houshold grey water from dishwasher, kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, showers and tubs is recycled and used in the gardens along with the rainwater. Moreover, natural daylighting, energy-efficient appliances and low flow water fixtures help reduce the footprint of the container home even further.

20 foot Shipping Container Outdoor Room, Australia

About Royal Wolf

The Shipping Container Outdoor Room has been designed to provide an extra space for various purposes. Portable and innovative, the Container Outdoor Room can be transformed into a modern space solution for retail, business or residential applications such as a retreat, home office, chill out zone or spare bedroom. Ideal for those working from home, teenagers retreat, extended family, ‘pop-up’ retail events or entertainment room, festivals, expos and much more.

The 20 foot modular prefab unit features lighting, power, flooring, air conditioning, glass sliding doors and superior insulation. The Room is delivered as a ‘blank slate’ and it can be used, decorated and furnished to create whatever interior type of room area is needed. Mixing contemporary design and practicality, the Container Outdoor Room can be delivered directly to buyer's site with the added advantage of being able to be repositioned to another site or removed if required.

Shipping Container Home Design for Hot Climate, Thailand

LocationKrabi, Thailand
Project costUS $39,000

This amazing shipping container home design was created by owner specially for hot climate of Krabi province in Thailand. Due to proximity of the location to the equator, there is little variation in high and low temperatures in the course of the year. Krabi has an average annual low of 25 °C (77 °F) and an annual high of 32 °C (90 °F).

The home consists of 4 containers: 2 of them create space for kitchen, shop, and storage downstairs; other 2 containers are for living area upstairs. White color was chosen to maximize the reflection of sunlight and to prevent heating of the walls surface.

All-Electric Shipping Container Office Building, Rhode Island, USA

About Truth Box

ProjectThe Box Office
DesignerDistill Studio
DeveloperTruth Box
LocationProvidence, Rhode Island, USA
PhotosNat Rea, Glen Turner

The Box Office was constructed from 32 shipping containers in Providence, Rhode Island, on the former Harris Lumber site. The shipping container office building consists of 12 studio/office spaces. Joe Haskett from Distill Studio created the design and the project was developed by Truth Box.

Among the many green features are:
  • using recycled containers;
  • a super tight, well-insulated exterior with high thermal performance doors and windows;
  • high efficiency heat pumps (air source) in each unit;
  • ERVs (energy recovery ventilators) to provide fresh air and to conserve energy;
  • solar panel array (10 KwH) on the roof (the building is "all electric").

The Box Office uses 22 KBTU/sf/year, or about 25% of a "typical" office building.

Windows location is strategically designed to provide the most indoor daylight with the most effective openings sizes; the result are well-lit and comfortable interiors with superior air quality in the units, even though the Box Office is nestled between a major urban roadway, a train track and a highway.

140.000 € Two Story Shipping Container House, Spain

Floor Plans
About architect

ArchitectsJames & Mau
Area190 m2 (2045 ft2)
LocationEl Tiemblo, Spain
Budget140.000 €
Building time6 months
Furniture / DecorationBecara
PhotosPablo Sarabia

This two story shipping container house consists of four 40' High Cube shipping containers assembled in L-shape structure. There are living room, kitchen, bathroom and area for visitors (with a small living room and two bedrooms for guests) on the ground floor and study, bathroom and master bedroom on the second floor.

The location of the site is above an altitude of 1,100 meters, so it is a cold place in winter and ecological biomass heating system is used for heating. The main facade oriented toward the south on the stunning views of the valley and nearby mountain while receiving direct rays of the sun in winter to heat the main exterior facade. Two trees located near southern wall, so sun radiation is gradually absorbed by the vegetation, which creates an outer green skin to protect the house from heat in summer. The organization of doors and windows allows a refreshing natural ventilation. The inner enclosure is made of cellulose fiber insulation from recycled newsprint and cork in some places. The house achieves a 70% (measured by weight) of recycled and reused components. Taps and sanitary equipment have low water consumption.

The construction system operates on a modular design, with some prefab details to reduce transport costs and pollution on site. The modular system suggests the full realization of the house integrating possible rapid and consistent space expansion in case the client needs change over time.

Transportable Shipping Container Bar

Once a staple of ports and scrapyards, shipping containers have taken on new life as the must-have design element of the moment, their gritty, sturdy frames doubling as a neighborhood bar, a mailroom, an office conference area, even a backyard farm.

Barneveld Noord Shipping Container Railway Station, Netherlands

Floorplans and Sections
About NL Architects
About Strukton

Architects:NL Architects
Containers:6x20ft and 1x40ft
Location:Utrecht, Netherlands

Frames of the three 20 ft shipping containers with glass walls form the main area in the Barneveld Noord Shipping Container Railway Station, which includes waiting area and cafe. Another three 20 ft containers form the second layer, one of these containers creates double-high ceiling in the waiting area, second contains technical installations, other contains storage. The seventh container is 40 ft and flipped to an upright position. It makes a tower, which contains a clock and a wind vane. The tower holds a lavatory, topped by a glass roof and is 12 m high.

Description by architects

ProRail, responsible for the railway network in the Netherlands, together with the so called spoorbouwmeester Koen van Velsen (‘the national supervisor for railway architecture’) started a campaign to make waiting more comfortable: Prettig Wachten.

Travelers experience waiting on a station as much longer then waiting within a vehicle. Surveys have indicated that waiting time is experienced as 3 times longer than it actually is. In this respect especially small and medium sized stations proof a big challenge. These smaller stations are usually unmanned, desolate, often creating a sense un-safety. What can we do to improve them?

The waiting areas of in total twenty stations throughout the country will be upgraded, both functionally and cosmetically: introduction of washrooms, wifi, floor heating, railway TV. Or Art!

One of the keys to the success of Prettig Wachten is to introduce human presence on these stations, to create some sort of informal supervision. An effort is made to create small multifunctional shops. In Wolvega for instance a flower shop will be opened, the florist will also be serving coffee and will even be cleaning the restrooms.

In Barneveld Noord a bike-repair shop will be included run by people that are ‘differently able’. They will contribute to the maintenance and hopefully prevent the broken window syndrome. In Barneveld Noord a new station will be build. Well station, perhaps more a bus-stop. But then again, quite an intriguing bus-stop… It is supposed to be a temporary structure. Hence the station will be build out of shipping containers. The containers contain space, but also form space.

They will be combined into an explicit arrangement. Together they form an ambiguous but strong sign. Minimum effort, maximum output. Three containers are ‘suspended’ in the air. Together they form a ‘roof’. One contains the installations, the other storage. The third will be opened at the bottom. It forms the headroom for the enclosed but fully transparent waiting area, creating a double high space.

The fourth container is flipped to an upright position. It makes an instant tower. The tower contains a clock. And a wind vane. Since Barneveld is the egg capital of the Netherlands -the station is located on the so-called Chicken Line- not the typical rooster will be mounted, but a gilded chicken. The tower holds a lavatory, 11.998mm high, topped by a glass roof. Royal Flush.

Shipping Container Homes and Buildings by Living Project, Netherlands

About Living Project

Why sea containers?

When sea containers were developed in the 1930s, this was done with modularity in mind. The containers also had to be able to withstand every climate and weather. So they had to face freezing cold, storm, rain, snow and salt water. And that is why the sea container is built in such a way that it can withstand the toughest elements to protect the valuable cargo inside the container. Because containers are made from Corten, rust and corrosion cannot affect the containers.

Our container homes are turnkey homes based on standard sea containers, making them easily and with complete normal road and sea transport available worldwide in a completely finished form. The sea containers serve as a basis. They are then built down as houses. This type of home can be placed on any type of foundation and can be finished with any desired finish. It is of course also possible not to coat the container from the outside and to retain the industrial look.

Naturally, all containers can be easily linked and stacked if a larger surface area has to be created. In addition to housing, this way of construction can also be extremely suitable for student housing, temporary housing, refugee housing, garden houses, storage rooms, office spaces, holiday homes, etc.

Living Project uses only the most modern, efficient and sustainable materials and technologies to build your home. Thanks to the spacious factory and the skilled employees, we can be of quick and professional service. The basis of our modular homes are new or used standard sea containers, which are then fully finished in accordance with customer requirements.

The choice of materials for the construction of our container houses is countless. You can choose from aluminum or plastic frames with double or triple insulated / laminated glass, interior walls of robust wooden panels or walls that are smoothly plastered and painted white, a modern or classic kitchen or bathroom and so on. The choice is very extensive.

Naturally, all Living Project shipping container houses are well insulated. You can also choose from different insulation materials, each with its own values ​​and properties.

Container construction offers reliability, speed and functionality. It also offers risk-free and effective solutions that meet the requirements of private homeowners, investors, contractors, public and private institutions.

Our container construction offers the flexibility to build better structures with high precision. Steel guarantees reliability and speed.

Another major advantage of container construction is the fact that sea containers are self-supporting. This means that in an area with an earthquake risks, container houses will reliably stand.

Container construction also offers the possibility of designing various constructions that are not possible with traditional construction.

There are four types of sea containers that we use in our construction process. The dimensions of the standard ISO containers are as follows:

- 20ft ISO container (L) 6.06 m x (W) 2.44 m x (H) 2.59 m = 14.77 m² floor space
- 20ft ISO container HC (L) 6.06 m x (W) 2.44 m x (H) 2.90 m = 14.77 m² floor space
- 40ft ISO container (L) 12.19 m x (W) 2.44 m x (H) 2.59 m = 29.72 m² floor space
- 40ft ISO container HC (L) 12.19 m x (W) 2.44 m x (H) 2.90 m = 29.72 m² floor space

Living Project has a number of standard home models in the range. Of course it is also possible to build your own custom container home with unique layout and dimensions that meet your requirements.


It is important that you know how the cooperation will work with us from the first contact to the moment we deliver your property. We divide this process into the phases listed below.

● Introduction / orientation (free)

In the introductory phase you, as a potential buyer / client, let us know if you are interested in our container construction. This often involves asking questions that have not yet been answered and discussing global ideas. In this phase we will work with you to see whether the global ideas you have are feasible in terms of design, permit, time limit, financing, etc.

● Design phase

In this phase, the plans are made more concrete, whereby you can clearly state what your wishes are. You can also show your own sketch designs, photos or other examples. We appreciate this very much, because it gives a good idea of ​​your wishes.

Based on our discussion, we make one or more 2D and / or 3D designs. The costs associated with this are € 100 per design with a maximum of two containers, € 200 per design with three to six containers and € 300 for a design with more than six containers. We can also send you a specified quotation based on the 3D design we have made.

The average starting price of a turnkey container home is around € 800 per square meter. It is true that as more containers are used, the square meter price will become (considerably) lower.

● Contract

The General Terms and Conditions apply to all agreements with Living Project, as you can find on our site. At your first request, a copy of our Terms and Conditions will be sent by post. The purchase / contracting agreement includes all drawings, calculations and descriptions with regard to the construction plan.

● Construction phase

After signing the purchase / contracting agreement, Living Project starts the preparations for the construction. You can stop by at any time to see how the work is progressing. If desired, we can keep you up-to-date by sending photos and videos.

● Delivery

During the delivery, we will check with you whether everything has been carried out properly and whether there are any delivery points that need to be resolved.