Tiny Houses

Sustainer Homes creates green, off-grid homes from shipping containers

A one to two person 323 sq ft Sustainer Homes container home is available for €75,000
A one to two person 323 sq ft Sustainer Homes container home is available for €75,000
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The container interiors are made almost entirely out of ECOboard, a low-energy material made out of pressed grass
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The container interiors are made almost entirely out of ECOboard, a low-energy material made out of pressed grass
Heating is provided by way of a heat-pump, with sustainable insulation materials used to minimize heat loss
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Heating is provided by way of a heat-pump, with sustainable insulation materials used to minimize heat loss
Sustainer Homes estimates that its containers can produce around 5,000 kWh each year, which it says will comfortably cover their energy requirements
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Sustainer Homes estimates that its containers can produce around 5,000 kWh each year, which it says will comfortably cover their energy requirements
Sustainer Homes is also planning to integrate its systems with the Toon smart thermostat
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Sustainer Homes is also planning to integrate its systems with the Toon smart thermostat
The Sustainer Homes containers generate electricity via solar array and turbines
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The Sustainer Homes containers generate electricity via solar array and turbines
In order to produce drinking water, rainwater is collected and is filtered to Dutch drinking water standards
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In order to produce drinking water, rainwater is collected and is filtered to Dutch drinking water standards
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A one to two person 323 sq ft Sustainer Homes container home is available for €75,000
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A one to two person 323 sq ft Sustainer Homes container home is available for €75,000

Using old shipping containers is seen as an environmentally friendly means of constructing new homes. Taking this one step further, Sustainer Homes has begun making off-grid container dwellings that incorporate self-managed water, sewerage, electricity and gas.

Sustainer Homes argues that factors like rising rents and demand for housing is requiring younger generations to look for more affordable, sustainable and flexible living options. It says its converted shipping containers not only address these issues, but also enable independence from facilities, low-impact living and freedom of mobility.

The containers (or "sustainers") are designed primarily as homes, but could also be used for hotels, holiday housing or even emergency shelters. There are several sizes and designs available, with a 1 to 2 person 30-sq m (323 sq ft) version available for €75,000 (US$82,500). Larger, family-sized containers, offices and holiday models for different climates are in development.

Each container is to be supplied with household appliances and a fully completed interior made almost entirely out of ECOboard – a low-energy material made out of pressed grass. Sustainer Homes says it has given thought to the environmental credentials of all the materials and fittings used. The kitchen taps, for example, are lead-free, the chairs are made from old refrigerators and all paint is based on linseed oil.

The container interiors are made almost entirely out of ECOboard, a low-energy material made out of pressed grass
The container interiors are made almost entirely out of ECOboard, a low-energy material made out of pressed grass

In order to produce drinking water, rainwater is collected and is filtered to Dutch drinking water standards. Wastewater, meanwhile, is filtered through a helophyte filter before being returned to the ground so as to eliminate contaminants. Toilet waste is separated with solid waste heated to kill bacteria and then composted.

The containers use solar arrays and turbines to generate power. By using both of these methods, a level of energy security is afforded. The company estimates that the containers can produce around 5,000 kWh each year, which it says will comfortably cover their energy requirements. A 20 kWh battery system is also employed to ensure reliability of supply.

Heating is provided by way of a heat-pump, with sustainable insulation materials used to minimize heat loss. Sustainer Homes is also planning to integrate its system with the Toon smart thermostat and to develop an an app that will show battery level, solar array energy production levels, energy usage and the weather forecast.

Sustainer Homes is also planning to integrate its systems with the Toon smart thermostat
Sustainer Homes is also planning to integrate its systems with the Toon smart thermostat

The build of the First Sustainer Homes prototype began at the start of June and was completed this month. The company is now testing its design.

Source: Sustainer Homes

14 comments
jerryd
7' wide has a lot of design compromises limiting what can be done. Because it is made from steel and way too much surface area it'll be an energy hog to heat, cool or build new walls outside it. So just where is the savings? 10-12' wide gives much more options, less surface area. Now using it for an underground house could work as extra walls, insulation costs are not needed, could work. But still limited. Putting 2 20' apart and build a roof/shell/2nd floor over them as structural pieces they can pay their way. And building in self contained water, waste, power systems means much lower bills as nothing to bill you for. Also no permits, impact fees, etc on them.
boomer
This is not the first shipping container to be used as a home.I think it's an excellent use once the containers are past a useful sea life.I've seen a YouTube clip showing a South American architect who used three containers,..the end result was not only practical but eye catching...
olwrench
The greedy profit margin dooms this excellent design. Last time I looked , containers could be bought for 2 to 5 k.
Rann Xeroxx
And you thought trailer parks were blights on the landscape.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
The buried or bermed version could be quite practical. I expect permitting and acceptance to be show stoppers.
james___uk
For that price you'd be better off doing it yourself! But I like that this movement is going ahead, shipping container housing looks great
unixcorn
Shipping containers are heavy. Heavy enough you need a tractor trailer to haul it. That said, I doubt these really have the potential to be taken too far off-road. Even if you get it somewhere remote, you will need to build a foundation or it will sink. I know this from experience. Finally, for $75K, I could certainly build a metal building on a slab with some fairly nice appointments that would easily fit two bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and living space.
aseejah
€75,000 will build you a masion in my country , this is far from affordable.
Germano Pecoraro
The houses derived from the containers have many problems. Are the designers of this house just convinced that just a little water tank in order to be self sufficient?
danmar
Pretty expensive for such a small space. I suppose it could work in some countries.