How to Cool Your Shipping Container Home

Being steel boxes, shipping containers can get hot as ovens under the sun’s heat.
How to Naturally Heat Your Shipping Container Home

Like any other home, shipping container houses get hot in the summer. Blasting it with air-conditioner is the easiest way to cool it, but it will take a toll on your electric bill. If you're trying to cut costs and be eco-friendly, consider other options. In this blog, we'll discuss ten ways to cool your shipping container home. Some are easy to do and some may take a while to finish, but these tricks guarantee your comfort during a hot day:

Install shades on your windows

The first thing to do is to install window treatments. You need something to cover windows that get direct sun exposure. Shades reflect light, keeping the light from entering the windows and warming the house. Blinds and blackout curtains are great alternatives. 

Rely on night-time cooling

The temperature drops at night. When it gets dark, shipping container homes cool down. It releases the heat the building envelope absorbed. This is the time to crack open your windows. Open them, especially the clerestory windows, to allow air to enter and exit the house. Run your fans to encourage airflow and cross ventilation inside the house. Doing so will push warm air out and the cool breeze in.

READ: Foolproof Methods for Cooling Your Sydney or Melbourne Home

Grow trees and tall plants

When planted in the right spot, trees and other tall greenery will give your home a natural shade. Here's a list of trees that homeowners grow in their gardens and use for shade:

✓ Red Cedar

✓ Blueberry Ash

✓ Brush Cherry (native to New South Wales and Queensland)

✓ Macaranga Tanarius

✓ Evergreen Ash

If you're going to grow a tree or a tall plant, make sure that it doesn't block the winter sun.

We recommend working with a landscape architect too. One can help you create a low-maintenance garden that's perfect for the property.

READ: Low-Maintenance Landscaping Tips for Busy Homeowners

Switch to fluorescent lights

Incandescent lights emit unwanted heat inside the house. So, swap these yellowish bulbs with fluorescent or LED lights. These will keep your home cooler and will cut the cost of your electricity bills.

Install fans

Electric fans are the low-cost appliances to cool your shipping container home. Place it near the openings and it will blow the cold air in and another to suck the hot air out. It keeps the indoor air fresh at all times.

There are different kinds of fans to choose from. Box fans are cute and likened to the shape of the house. Oscillating fans are great because they rotate. These allow better airflow in the house. Ceiling fans are great in air-conditioned rooms for it blows the cold air downwards.

Use portable air-conditioning units

Instead of air-conditioning all rooms of the house, why not buy a few portable AC units? This way, you only cool the rooms in use. You also avoid expensive retrofitting.

Work with a sustainable architect

The previous tips apply to built and existing shipping container homes. Those are easy and low-cost solutions too. If you haven't built your container home yet, we recommend that design it in a way that it can cool itself. We encourage you to build a sustainable shipping container home. And, find a great architect who can do this project with you.

Here's a shipping container home that we built in Cook Islands: Browse our gallery to see our previous container home projects.

Avoid an indoor oven

A fiery oven inside a steel box doesn't seem right, right? Instead of an oven, why not invest in an outdoor grill and oven? This way, you can cook meals outside like a suave Aussie. You also avoid producing unwanted heat inside the house.

Choose a cooling roof

Getting the roof of your shipping container house right is the key to its success. For instance, a light-coloured roofing material doesn't absorb much heat. These reflect the sun's heat back into the atmosphere. It won't transmit heat into your home.

READ: How a Simple White Roof Paint Can Cool Your Home

Use energy-efficient windows

There is the surging popularity of using low-emissivity glass windows in the country. Low-e windows stop and block the heat from entering the house through the glass.  

Unfortunately, Low-E glass comes with a hefty price tag. When you can't afford it yet, consider filming your windows. Window tinting can reduce your energy bills and your carbon footprint too. We hope these tips and tricks will help you cool your shipping container home. Some of them are quick and easy to do. Some are expensive. But, all will make your container home comfortable during the hot summer months.

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Contact our Brisbane-based building designers for more info.



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