A couple of months ago, I was reading about container homes and it gave me a wonderful feeling of nostalgia. My mind went back to caravans, Butlins and good times, because isn’t a container home another name for a caravan, just like plimsolls passed through sandshoes to become trainers?
Well, yes and no.
The caravans of yesteryear were the closest we could get to a holiday and, if we’re honest about it, they were hard work. There were no toilet or washing facilities and the water for drinking and cooking had to be carried in a flagon from the communal tap, maybe using wheels that you inherited from a pushchair or an old shopping bag on wheels. Waste water was caught in a bucket and had to be tipped down some drain or other. Heat was provided by way of a gas bottle and lighting came from the same. You couldn’t use the caravan in winter, because the weather was far too cold and, eventually, it rained in. Still, those were the days, or so we thought at the time.
Container homes may seem similar but they are much more state of the art. The first point is they have a much longer shelf life than caravans, boasting a sixty year lifespan, which takes into account possible demounting and relocation. Made from recycled shipping containers, these homes come in various sizes and can be designed to your own specifications. The size is 20’ x 8’ x 8’ 6″ high gives you 160 square feet of living space, ideal for permanent accommodation for a single person. These recycled containers are also available in bigger sizes such as the spacious 40’ container (40’ x 8’ x 8’ 6″), which gives you 320 square feet of living space. The application of container homes has evolved so considerably, that it goes well beyond the caravan park application and the key modular building components can be stacked up and converted into comfortable holiday villas, or even luxury holiday lets. Prefabricated houses cut down on waiting time and, as portable buildings, they can be easily delivered and quickly operational.
By state of the art I mean that, unlike caravans, these container homes are eco-friendly, supporting the environment and our future. They are designed to manage diverse weather conditions and utilise the latest space age technology in insulation. They incorporate renewable energy systems and also re-cycle water for toilets and washing machines, via a water-harvesting system. Again, savings are being made on running costs.
Container homes don’t have to look like containers, as attractive cladding to the exterior can make them blend into the local landscape. Of course, there are rules as to where you can site them and, after a quick glance at one of the sites that specialises in container homes, I found the information to be very user-friendly. This gives us all a chance to understand the process and make informative decisions on how we can create a cleaner and better future for ourselves. Just like those caravans of my childhood, I have got a really warm feeling but, this time, for much better reasons.