Since we’ve started Container Home Plans, we’ve received emails from people all around the world. One of the most popular questions we receive is: which climates are suitable for a shipping container home?
Most people, rightly so, think about their local climate before deciding whether to build a shipping container home or not.
If they live in the tropics they are concerned that their container home will be sweltering. Whereas, if they live in colder climates they are concerned that their home will be an ice box all year round.
Shipping container homes are suitable for nearly all climates providing you thoroughly prepare your containers. Today we are going to look at how to prepare your containers to be suitable in both hot and cold climates.
Shipping Container Homes in Hot Climates
This section is going to focus on how to design your shipping container to be suitable in hot climates.
For this, let’s pick an area which is very hot all year round and also dry: Panama fits this description.
The best way to keep your shipping container home cool is to not let the heat into your home in the first place.
One of the most effective ways I’ve found to do this is to keep the majority of your house in the shade. This stops sunlight shining directly onto your containers which would increase the temperature inside your home.
To keep your containers in the shade I’d recommend using your garden and planting trees if you have the space.
Two of the fastest growing trees are the Northern Catalpa and the Hybrid Poplar. Both of these trees grow at around 8 foot each year, so within a year or so they will be much taller than your container home and provide you with shade.
The Northern Catalpa grows an incredibly thick canopy of leaves- this really helps to reflect the sunlight away from your containers.
If you are going to use trees as sun shades, it’s also important to consider the orientation of your building. Remember that the sun will be at its hottest during the afternoon when it will be shinning from the south, so you should plant the majority of your shade in the south to protect your containers.
If the sunlight gets through your ‘shade-blockers’, the next best thing you can do is make sure your roof is reflecting and not absorbing heat.
An easy step is painting your roof white. White reflects the majority of wavelengths which means it will reflect the sun’s rays back and away from your shipping containers.
Not only is your roof’s colour important but just as important is the material you choose for your roof.
Traditional roofs like asphalt is black, this means it will absorb the heat from the sun and transmit it into your containers.
Instead you should use a treated metal roof. This would actually reflect the majority of the heat away before it even reaches your containers.