Shipping container life can be affordable, pleasant and green

Image by Office of Mobile DesignImage by 20080804shippingcontainerinside.jpg Life inside a shipping container can be good. This is the first floor of two-floor shipping container home.

Sure, living in a shipping container at the port is a raw deal, but if you piled them two high and three wide, knocked down the inside walls, cut out spacious windows, found a nice plot of land, and spruced things up a bit, a shipping container could actually be quite nice. And with a large port, the Charleston-area is poised to get in on the upswing.

Why live inside a metal box (even if it is nice) when you could just live in a normal home?

For starters there's the niche use: What if you needed spots to live for a short-term influx of visitors where housing is scarce. Then when they've left you can, quite literarily, ship the shipping containers back.
And then there's the more common reason: It's affordable. I'll explain.

Discarded shipping containers are often cheap and plentiful, yielding a price of around $2,000 to $3,000 per container. And once all the necessities are put in and things are spruced up, you can have a home for around $125 per square foot.

Examples of that are the Quik House that is two stories with three bedrooms and two-and-half baths fully assembled for some $184,000, and shipped for a $3,000 to $12,000 more.

You can read more about the general concept over at TreeHugger.

What it means to Charleston

The Post and Courier talks about the emerging interest locally in shipping containers. They cite the case of Associated Container Sales and Fabrication Inc. who already employs some 65 and could increase that number by 25 if things continue to go well. The company also plans to open a set of model homes on site.

The Post and Courier talks more about the local scene and also offers up a photo gallery of the Charleston group's handy work.

It'd be great to not have to worry about termites.