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 â€œto provide fast, green minded, safe, affordable homes for the underserved.â€
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.
The Sarah House Project began with Whiteâ€™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 â€œassists 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.â€ 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.
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.