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Jeffrey White, a real estate agent who resides near Salt Lake City, Utah, is spearheading the Sarah House Project, a nonprofit, community-based organization that aims “to provide fast, green minded, safe, affordable homes for the underserved.”

Built from converted, recycled shipping containers and named for a San Francisco artist who succumbed to cancer, the homes incorporate sustainability concepts, including the use of green materials such as eco-friendly plywood, bamboo flooring, and insulation that is made from recycled clothing. Electric radiant heat and insulating paint help to keep utility costs down. Seismically sound, the structures feature a termite- and fire-resistant exterior.

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The Sarah House Project began with White’s attempt to convert a 40-foot container into a house on his driveway. After encountering problems with city officials, he started working with Crossroads Urban Center, a local nonprofit that “assists and organizes Utahns with low incomes, those with disabilities, and people of color to meet basic survival needs and to address essential issues affecting quality of life.” Through Crossroads, White was able to procure a parcel of land on which to construct his prototype with funding from a federal home grant, donations, and his own money.

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Coming in at 672 feet, the Sarah House is being built from two containers and cost less than $120,000, including the land. When it is completed, Crossroads will sell the home to a low-income single or couple. White expects to reduce the cost of building future homes out of shipping containers for less than $75,000 and hopes to build small communities of shipping container homes for the impoverished or in-transition low-income households.

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