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Affordable and sustainable housing

I've presented a rough outline of an idea that would provide affordable and sustainable housing for disaster survivors base on highly modified cargo containers that would be designed to snap together into a solar powered, water furnace heated, internet ready alternative to FEMA Housing Units. The individual pieces would be bolted together like Lego blocks. The end result would look like an ordinary apartment building which the community could keep or it could be dismantled for future use.

These units could also be places on barges and provide a floating complex for a disaster on the coast or on our large rivers where 80% of our citizens live within 30 miles.

Once the recovery is on the way the units could be sold to local concerns and run as section 8 housing, with lower utility bills, a smaller foot print than FEMA Housing Units and a more attractive alternative as well. If no local concern whats to purchase them we pack them up and wait for the next event to occur.

Google "cargo container apartments" to get an idea of what can be done.

Submitted by in Feb 2012

Comments (7)

  1. Cargo containers are simply too heavy and too difficult to move without heavy equipment. These containers have no insulation, and lack regular doors and windows ...with used 20 ft. x 40 ft. containers generally costing over $2,500.00 in most areas. There are a number of "pod-type" housing systems that are a better option.
    in Feb 2012
  2. hkellogg36 Idea Submitter
    Sorry I guess I didn't make myself clear. I said "highly modified" containers. These would not be traditional cargo shipping containers but specially build modular units for emergency housing. Built to stack up and build a safe, secure, afordable, sustainable, attractive apartment building that the community woud be proud to have and the surviors would be happy to live in even after the recovery is done. They would be not only insulated but super insulated and the "doors" would be designed with emergency housing in mind and not cargo.

    The only thing they would have in common with traditional cargo containers that they would be stackable, adaptable and transportable by barge, cargo ship, train and truck.
    in Feb 2012
  3. hkellogg36, To expand on my prior comments I wanted to note that FEMA is responsible for emergency housing, not sustainable housing. Conex boxes (containers-export), modified or not, are still too heavy and transportation costs too high. If you start with a used Conex, typically 8 ft. x 20 ft. or 8 ft. x 40 ft., there will usually be structural problems due to heavy rust caused by exposure to sea water/ spray. For emergency shelter, we like the SAS 34 Roder Shelter (34 m2 tent kit that is compact for shipping, & under 190 lbs.). If you add a field kitchen, composting toilet, solar shower, lighting, and hand-operated washing machine ... along with a dinning table, chairs, and sleeping cots this type of emergency housing is comfortable for an extended period.
    in Feb 2012
  4. hkellogg36 Idea Submitter
    I'm sorry I keep miss-communicating the idea. You would not start out with used cargo containers. It would be a new product based on the concept and designed for the specific purpose.

    There is a video of car cargo container hotel going up in a matter of days using 1 crane. It works, it's proven and it just needs to be modified for our use.

    The concept is valid and just needs to be modified for our use.
    in Feb 2012
  5. Cargo containers are not easily converted to housing. Besides issues raised by other comments, the width alone, which is only 8', is simply to narrow to accommodate a typical room. Better to build a simple box-like structure designed specifically to be expanded and converted to permanent housing.
    in Dec 2012
  6. The problem with container housing is similar to the problem with FEMA trailers in that the cost of transportation, set-up, maintenance, removal and storage is very expensive, easily more than the cost of the units themselves.
    in Dec 2012
  7. hkellogg36 Idea Submitter
    Literally millions of cargo containers are transported every day and the equipement used is ubiquitous to any port, train or trucking depot. They are put on barges and transported up rivers. They are on every other semi that passes you on the road. By designing the containers to fit standard handling equipment yet designing them to be habitable from the ground up kills two birds with one semi tractor/train/barge. What is different about the solution I have suggested is that they would be stacked into attractive apartment buildings. Local authorities are very often the hold up in dealing with mobil homes. They do not want them in their juristiction. If a container like system could be brought in to replace the apartment buiding destroyed then there should be no objections from the local authorities.

    I want to reinterate that the only thing a container and the components that I'm proposing have in common would be the handling and stacking capabilities. Two container like components would be married together to form a 2 bedroom apartment. Other components would be the hallways and others would be the stairs and elevator units. Still others storage units and HVAC. All plug and play.
    in Apr 2013

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