5 Amazing Elements of Green Architecture

Shipping Container Buildings
Container City 2, a set of attractive work/live studio spaces in Leamouth, London, was made from 30 shipping containers.
Container City 2, a set of attractive work/live studio spaces in Leamouth, London, was made from 30 shipping containers.
Fin Fahey/Flickr

Like with cob houses, shipping container buildings address the high impact associated with traditional building materials. Instead of using new materials that have to be manufactured, shipping container homes reclaim old shipping crates and use them to create prefabricated structures. Shipping crates can be stacked vertically or lined up side-by-side to create residential or commercial buildings. There are a few different ways to build a shipping container home, depending on how ambitious you are.

A number of companies offer prefabricated, or prefab, shipping crate houses, which you can live in almost right out of the box. These prefab homes usually come equipped with power, water, and sometimes even central heating and air [source: Pilloton]. If you're more of a do-it-yourselfer, you can procure your own containers from a company like Sea Box and purchase a set of plans. From there, you can construct a shipping container home from scratch or hire contractors to build it out for you.

Either way, you want to make sure that you check out local and state building codes before starting on a shipping container home. Reed Construction Data has a helpful Building Code Reference Library, which is a good place to start researching on your own. If you're planning to hire a contractor, he should know if shipping crate homes adhere to code in your area.

Related Articles


  • Gangemi, Jeffrey. "Selling Solar Power Back to the Grid." Business Week. July 6, 2006. (September 9, 2011) http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/jul2006/sb20060706_167332.htm
  • Greenroofs.com. "Greenroofs 101." (September 9, 2011) http://www.greenroofs.com/Greenroofs101/index.html
  • Green Roof Plants. "Dictionary of Terms." (September 13, 2011) http://www.greenroofplants.com/green-roof-technology/dictionary-of-terms/
  • Lance, Jennifer. "Rainwater Collection Now Legal for Some in Colorado; Still Illegal in Utah." Blue Living Ideas. July 16, 2009. (September 13, 2011) http://bluelivingideas.com/2009/07/16/rainwater-collection-legal-colorado-illegal-utah/
  • Natural Building Network. "Welcome to the Natural Building Network." (September 9, 2011) http://nbnetwork.org/
  • One Block Off the Grid. "Photovoltaic Shingles: How do they compare to Solar Panels?" (September 9, 2011) http://howsolarworks.1bog.org/solar-shingles/
  • Pelletier, Jason. "Good Green Roofs." Low Impact Living. February 17, 2008. (September 9, 2011) http://www.lowimpactliving.com/blog/2008/02/17/green-roofs-for-homes/
  • Pilloton, Emily. "Prefab Friday: LOT-EK Container Home Kit." Inhabitat. May 5, 2007. (September 13, 2011) http://inhabitat.com/prefab-friday-lot-ek-container-home-kit-cmk/
  • Portland Online. "Rainwater Harvesting." Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. (September 13, 2011) http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=ecbbd&a=bbehfa
  • Proefrock, Philip. "Green Architecture Versus Great Architecture." Green Building Elements. May 5, 2008. (September 9, 2011) http://greenbuildingelements.com/2008/05/05/green-architecture-versus-great-architecture/
  • RainXchange. "RainXchange Systems." (September 9, 2011) http://www.rainxchange.com/
  • Sea Box. "ISO Shipping Containers." (September 9, 2011) http://www.seabox.com/
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Green Building." (September 9, 2011) http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/pubs/about.htm
  • U.S. Green Building Council. "What LEED Measures." (September 9, 2011) http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1989
  • Ziggy. "Natural Building 101: Building a Cob House." Green Building Elements. September 12, 2008. (September 9, 2011) http://greenbuildingelements.com/2008/09/12/natural-building-101-building-an-eco-friendly-cob-house/


Creaking Floors Served as Security Warning System in Ancient Japan

Creaking Floors Served as Security Warning System in Ancient Japan

HowStuffWorks visits Japan to learn more about uguisubari, or nightingale floors, which were features of Nijo Castles and Toji-in Temple.