The Truth Behind the Shipping Container Homes Craze


In the introduction to her book “Prefabulous World, Energy-Efficient and Sustainable Container House Around the World” Sheri Koones writes, “We have learned over the years that there are better ways to build a house . . . Prefabrication has been my mantra for a long time because it is such a superior way to build.”

Modular construction is one prefabricated approach proven to help reduce the environmental impact of building a home while helping to increase the energy efficiency and overall sustainability of the home.

Then there is Meka. They do not build shipping container housing; they build what I will call housing containers- modules of houses that are built to shipping container dimensions to take advantage of the shipping container infrastructure, without most of the problems that actually arise from working with shipping containers.

Where a shipping container is designed with enough steel to stack nine high completely filled with stuff, Meka designs their boxes with just enough steel to do the structural job that is required, while filling in the rest with conventional building materials that cost a lot less, that are easier to work with, and provide some insulation.

We are all familiar with the negative aspects of mass produced Container Houses, embodied by the tawdry post-war prefabs. But with modern methods of construction, it is logical that building homes from larger component parts that have been produced in factories and slotting in when required can generate time and cost savings.