ShelterKraft Werks Designs and Builds Sustainable Custom Shipping Container Homes

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The Seattle-based home building company, ShelterKraft Werks, designs affordable homes that are configured around recycled shipping containers to provide solutions for global housing challenges with turn-key, low footprint structures that can be installed within any conceivable environment.

The brainchild of Kai Schwarz, ShelterKraft Werks is a blend of what he has learned about architecture, engineering, and construction in combination with his experiences with boats and sustainable living off the grid.

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Cargo containers are made from around 8,000 pounds of corten, a steel alloy that is resistant to corrosion but expensive and difficult to recycle. Building structures from repurposed shipping containers reduces the use of lumber and other new materials while reducing industrial waste. The benefits of shipping container construction include strength (containers can be stacked up to eight high), disaster resistance, durability, affordability, flexibility, and mobility.

ShelterKraft Works offers four stock models of shipping container homes that allow for homeowners to select finishes, add a deck, change the roof design, and include other green building options. ShelterWerks can help to achieve sustainability goals with the incorporation of solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro-generated electric power, Energy Star and energy-efficient appliances, rainwater catchment and grey water reclamation systems, composting toilets, green roofs and rooftop garden installations, and eco-friendly building materials such as low-VOC paints and counter tops made of recycled fibers.

Fully-designed container houses are built in the ShelterKraft factory and delivered on site for final installation.

  • CargoCottage – With a base price of $35,000, the single-container 8’ x 20’ model is 160 square feet and includes a two-person sleeping nook, bathroom with shower, kitchen, and dining/living area.
  • CargoCabin – With a base price of $54,000, the single-container 8’ x 40’ model is 320 square feet and includes 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, kitchen, and dining/living area.
  • Duet CargoCabin – With a base price of $59,000, this 320 square foot model uses two 8’ x 20’ containers to create a space with 1 bedroom, 1 bath, kitchen, and dining/living area.
  • CargoHaus – With a base price of $72,000, this 640 square foot model uses two 8’ x 40’ containers to create a space with a master suite, second bedroom, bathroom, and living/dining area.

In late April 2013, ShelterKraft Werks displayed its model container house, the CargoCottage, at the 2013 Northwest Green Home Tour. ShelterKraft also offers structures for backyard studios as well as structures for commercial and industrial applications.

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  • Michael Cuneo

    $3000 shipping container, with about $7000 worth of appliances inside, Only $35,000, Oh my god what an excellent price for a home… wait what?

    • k9gardner

      It does sound a bit high, but add to your $7000 worth of appliances the following (which I’ll just list without trying to put an actual cost on them):

      • cleaning/removal of chemical or other possible contaminants from inside of container
      • new flooring
      • insulation and interior wall and ceiling finish

      • cut openings for windows and doors
      • purchase and install windows and doors
      • electrical/lighting systems
      • plumbing
      • heating system

      It still does seem a bit expensive, at ~$240/sf, but smaller buildings do tend to be high $/sf because you still need all the categories of “stuff” as I’ve outlined above, and you should know that smaller ones and/or “greener” ones are not cheap.

      There’s a parallel movement of people using prefab sheds and garages as the base building from which to build a house. The raw cost is always appealing, the box. But then when you add the necessities, the insulation, the electrical and plumbing systems, the fixtures, furniture and finishes, it comes out about the same as this.

      Unless you’re going to live like a hobo – which is a valid option for some – you’re likely going to spend a minimum of $50,000, ballpark, to have a home and a piece of land to put it on.

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  • http://kiwiriverman.blogspot.com peterpetterson

    A great little idea…

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  • David Nguyen

    Thanks for your valuable information. There are many aspects to consider before you start on your custom home design, but none are more important than your budget.

  • http://www.rojasconstructions.com.au/ Rojas Constructions Australia

    Thanks for your valuable information. There are many aspects to consider before you start on your custom home design, but none are more important than your budget.

  • Scalar Intelligence

    Greedy people are going to fucking ruin this for everyone

  • Scalar Intelligence

    Greedy people are going to fucking ruin this for everyone

  • Victoria A. Clark

    Try and find an existing house for $35,000. This is perfect for a couple or 1 person as a vacation home or permanent residence!! Well done and it keeps these in service and out of landfills.

  • Victoria A. Clark

    Try and find an existing house for $35,000. This is perfect for a couple or 1 person as a vacation home or permanent residence!! Well done and it keeps these in service and out of landfills.

  • hangtown

    All well and good until you check local codes. Then not so much. You can’t even live in a self contain travel unit without inspections and permits. The base price quotes the unit not the land the sewer, water and electrical hookups. Keep dreaming.

  • dahszil

    DIY. buy your own container. buy cheaper or used appliances and ameneties, pay handy men and woman to do what you can’t — be half as cheap or less than as this company is putting these together.

  • dahszil

    DIY. buy your own container. buy cheaper or used appliances and ameneties, pay handy men and woman to do what you can’t — be half as cheap or less than as this company is putting these together.

  • http://www.fortcollinsre.com Mike Jensen

    I just bought my first shipping container home for $20K delivered from some DIY guy, who actually did a really great job on it. We are testing it out at our campground, if it takes off, I will be looking for about 20 of them.

    • Cornell G Causey

      Who did you get yours from and what area?

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