According to ArchDaily, shipping containers are in great supply because it is more expensive to ship them back to China or Europe, than it is to make new ones in Asia. The advantages to using them are cost, durability, and strength as well as availability. The downsides include the coatings used to make the units sea worthy are potentially harmful to humans and need to be sandblasted. Additionally, the wood floors are treated with hazardous chemical pesticides to keep pests out and need to be replaced, and openings for doors and windows have to be cut with a torch. As MHProNews has learned, to convert a container to a home results in nearly a thousand pounds of hazardous waste, not to mention the energy required to perform the conversion, including moving the unit around. Shipping containers may make sense in disaster areas and for developing nations where resources may be scarce, but less energy and resources are required to build a similar structure out of wood.
(Photo credit: SlapBcn/ArchDaily–empty shipping containers)