Homes are springing up around the world featuring the latest trend in green building: Transforming a shipping container into a home.
As a home building material, these containers actually have a lot to offer. Because they are abundant, recycling them as a living space is both environmentally friendly and inexpensive (they typically run between $1,000 and $2,000 per container).
The steel bones are structurally stronger than a wood frame. They are mold proof, fire proof and termite proof. On top of that, the containers can be converted into residential uses off site, transported and then assembled on site, saving time and money on construction.
However, that doesn't mean they're perfect: The containers are usually lined with pesticides and other chemicals that were used to make them safe for transportation. They also use a lot of energy and produce a lot of waste when they're converted into something that's actually habitable.
And they're boxy. The containers typically come in two lengths, 40 feet and 20 feet, and are less than 8 feet wide and about 8 feet high when insulation and interior walls are added, making for an awkward living space.
But architects and designers have managed to do a lot with them, as seen in these seven shipping container homes.