Sustainable Container Home Design (Solar+Wind+Rainwater+Heat pump) by Sustainer Homes, Netherlands

About Sustainer Homes

Design: Sustainer Homes
Year: 2015
Location: Netherlands

Nowadays for house constructions which have no or little influence on the nature, old shipping containers are commonly used. Sustainer Homes improved this technology of container homes by creating self-managed houses that have water, electricity, gas and sewerage.

According to Sustainer Homes, such factors, as high rents and the necessity of having dwelling make young people to look for favorable, reasonable and accessible alternative. And such alternative is an independent, sustainable and comfortable container home, which provides with independence from facilities, eco-friendliness and freedom of mobility.

Such containers, or sustainers, can be used not only as homes, but as hotels or vacation homes and even as shelters for emergencies. The clients can choose size and design to their liking. For instance, there is available home at 30 square meters (323 square feet) for one or two persons for €75,000 (US$82,500). Other larger and houses for different climate, containers for families, office models and holiday homes are in development.

The container homes even produce drinking water, which satisfies Dutch standards, from the rainwater after collecting and filtering. Such houses are eco-friendly, because before returning to the ground the wastewater is filtered through a helophyte filter and that reduces the ground pollution.

The owners of container homes have no problems with electricity, as the containers are equipped with solar arrays and wind turbines, with the help of which a high level of energy security is afforded. Sustainer homes proofs that each container can produce about 5,000 kWh in a year, so the energy requirements are completely covered. A 20 kWh battery system ensures energy reliability.

A heat-pump provides the heating and for minimizing heat loss a sustainable insulation materials are used. The company has an idea to equip containers with the Toon smart thermostat. And as the improvement they want to develop the app that will show battery charge level, solar array energy production levels, energy usage and the weather forecast.

What is Shipping Container Architecture?

Nowadays in order to create something unique and creative an architects and designers often use shipping containers. This form of architecture is called the shipping container architecture or cargotecture. This architecture became popular, as the containers are wide available and strong material at a low price. Moreover, the container buildings are more environmentally friendly than traditional houses that made of bricks and cement.

The container homes have their advantages and disadvantages.

Containers are a perfect material for building. They are enough strong and durable, as the shipping containers can resist harsh environment and they are created for carrying heavy loads.

Another advantage of all shipping containers is modularity, because they have the same sizes. The architects can combine them and design the large and unique masterpieces. And the creation of additional construction is an easy task.

The construction expenses of the container house may be pretty high, as the specialized labor is needed. But these expenses are still lower than the building of traditional house.

The transportation is also an advantage of the container architecture. The container modules have standard shipping sizes and can be delivered by truck, rail or ship.

We can use the shipping containers all around the world. So, the availability is one more advantage of this ideal building material.

As for the expense, the containers have the lower price than other finished structures that are made of bricks. The containers can be bought from transport companies at a reasonable price, $1,200 each. And if you want to buy new brand they will cost you $6000.

In addition the main advantage of shipping containers is that they are eco-friendly.

In spite of all advantages, the shipping container architecture has its disadvantages. The containers heat very well, so they should have better isolation than wood, brick or block structures. There is a lack of flexibility, because to create spaces different to the default size is expensive and takes a lot of time. For the construction of container houses a crane is needed, so the construction site should be enough spacious. In some regions there is required some building permits for steel construction. The last disadvantage is that the roof is not very strong. It has the limit of 300 kg.

Today the structures made of shipping containers are widely used. And they have different usage, sizes, appearances and locations.

Shipping Containers Sizes, Dimensions, Volumes, Weights and Loads

20′ container 40′ container 40′ high-cube container 45′ high-cube container
imperial metric imperial metric imperial metric imperial metric

length 19′ 10.5″ 6.058 m 40′ 0″ 12.192 m 40′ 0″ 12.192 m 45′ 0″ 13.716 m
width 8′ 0″ 2.438 m 8′ 0″ 2.438 m 8′ 0″ 2.438 m 8′ 0″ 2.438 m
height 8′ 6″ 2.591 m 8′ 6″ 2.591 m 9′ 6″ 2.896 m 9′ 6″ 2.896 m

length 19′ 3″ 5.867 m 39′ 5 4564 12.032 m 39′ 4″ 12.000 m 44′ 4″ 13.556 m
width 7′ 8 1932 2.352 m 7′ 8 1932 2.352 m 7′ 7″ 2.311 m 7′ 8 1932 2.352 m
height 7′ 9 5764 2.385 m 7′ 9 5764 2.385 m 8′ 9″ 2.650 m 8′ 9 1516 2.698 m
door aperture width 7′ 8 ⅛″ 2.343 m 7′ 8 ⅛″ 2.343 m 7′ 6" 2.280 m 7′ 8 ⅛″ 2.343 m
height 7′ 5 ¾″ 2.280 m 7′ 5 ¾″ 2.280 m 8′ 5″ 2.560 m 8′ 5 4964 2.585 m
internal volume 1,169 ft³ 33.1 m³ 2,385 ft³ 67.5 m³ 2,660 ft³ 75.3 m³ 3,040 ft³ 86.1 m³
gross weight
66,139 lb 30,400 kg 66,139 lb 30,400 kg 68,008 lb 30,848 kg 66,139 lb 30,400 kg
empty weight 4,850 lb 2,200 kg 8,380 lb 3,800 kg 8,598 lb 3,900 kg 10,580 lb 4,800 kg
net load 61,289 lb 28,200 kg 57,759 lb 26,600 kg 58,598 lb 26,580 kg 55,559 lb 25,600 kg