When building we are committed to using salvaged / re-purposed building materials whenever possible. In winter 07/08 season we built a new base for our dogsledding tours using shipping containers.
Building with used shipping containers is the new eco-friendly thing to do. few ideas can compete with the weird, pragmatic beauty of the used shipping container. Cheap, strong and easily transportable by truck, train or boat these big steel structures now litter the ports of America as mementos of our trade imbalance. (Many more full containers arrive on our shores than depart, so ports either ship them back empty — to the tune of about $900 per — or sell them.) Hurricane proof, flood proof, fire proof, these metal Lego blocks are tough enough to be stacked 12-high empty — and thus can be used in smaller multistory buildings. Used containers (which can be picked up for $1,500 to $2,000) often have teak floors and sometimes are insulated.
The bright orange, blue and rust corrugated boxes may not appeal to everyone. But contemporary hipsters find them not just the ultimate in postmodern appropriation but aesthetically pleasing as well.And even though containers have little of the crunchy nostalgia of the hay-bale house or the yurt, they trump most other forms of green building because, in the current economy, they are virtually a waste product. Making a building (which can last and last) out of what is essentially a huge piece of industrial detritus takes recycling to a new level.The concept of using shipping containers as buildings is hardly new — institutions like the military have been using the structures as temporary offices, bunk houses and showers for some time. Examples of designers incorporating shipping containers into residential designs date back to 1982.