The world is facing a housing crisis with the supply of new houses failing to meet the escalating demand. The 2016 UN Habitat report states that one billion new homes are required by 2025 with an estimated cost of $9-11 trillion. There are already around 850 million people living in ‘informal’ settlements with inflated rents in urban areas and a lack of good-quality, affordable housing two of the major causes of the problem.
Despite the gloomy outlook, there are many proposed solutions to the housing shortage. One concept that is rapidly gaining momentum is the repurposing of old shipping containers to create homes, businesses, and even prisons. Known in the construction industry as ‘cargotecture,’ it capitalizes on the surplus of unused containers (currently estimated at around 34 million) to rapidly build new structures.
Shipping containers are in many ways an ideal building material. Modular, stackable, and secure, they are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and are resistant to fire and natural disasters such as hurricaines. They can support up to 300 tons of vertical weight without reinforcement and are easily insulated and fitted with doors, windows, and partitions. Their only minor drawback is that they conduct heat and thus require innovative HVAC systems to make them habitable.
Cargotecture could also prove instrumental in tackling the climate crisis by eliminating the need to produce cement – a major source of CO2 emissions. While the melting down of shipping containers uses up to 8,000 kWh of energy, converting them requires as little as 400 kWh. Once converted, they can also be run for as little as $50/month, making them an affordable option as well.
BSWi was quick to recognize the potential of shipping containers as a durable and economical building material. We have devised a number of modular cargotecture solutions to build houses, expand prisons, create police and hospital annexes, and even construct water treatment plants. Our containerized units are easily transported and can be assembled in as little as a few weeks.
By repurposing shipping containers, we can quickly and effectively respond to the global housing crisis by creating durable, sustainable, and affordable homes. Click here (link to modular structure FoE) to find out more about BSWi’s modular cargotecture solutions.