When Money Falls From the Sky…

1 Apr

Why is is, when we’re always claiming to be “first” at everything…

We  have to be “last” in alternative housing?

America is in the grips of what could be the worst economic times since the Great Depression. And families are going to bear the brunt of it, I assure you. The politicians in DC are so insulated that they won’t even hear our teeth chatter.

I’ve been going on and on about “container houses” for months now. At least, that’s my story on the Internet. It’s actually been a lifelong passion, spawned from the simple, yet abstract, realization that those steel boxes provide the “core” of some really unique and durable homes.

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When we were younger, we did it because we didn’t have any money.

Now, with this infusion of “Stimulus dollars,” it may be possible to build that Corten Castle, and let Uncle Sam help you pay for it.  Everybody I talk to expects “money to be falling from Heaven, like Manna to the Israelites!” I’m not so sure that it’s gonna work that way… but I’ve been wrong before.

You can bet that Ronin is going over the Stimulus Bill, line by stinking line, looking for ways to get money out of “Big Government,” to help the families that actually make up the America they misrepresent, seemingly at every turn.

I know, I know… color me “jaded.”

Look, it’s like this… it costs £20,000 to build and buy a container studio in London. That’s about $28,620.15 in USD, according to the Currency Exchange, today. That’s the cost of a new GM car or a Toyota, folks.

It’s affordable. Living in modified shipping containers (ISBUs) has become an increasingly attractive option, to many Americans.

They’ve been doing it overseas for years, kids. I’VE  been doing it for years, overseas. It’s not that hard! England, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, you name it… there are “container homes” there.

Containers aren’t just for residences, either. Travel Lodge opened a hotel in Uxbridge (in the UK)  made out of 86 containers.  We talked about this very hotel, earlier  in the blog history of “RR.” And the Travel Lodge powers that be say that most of the rest of their new projects will use Shipping Containers as their core.  Clearly, there must be advantages to using them. Right?

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Aren’t those the “same” advantages that we’ve been talking about all along?

They’re;

  • Durable
  • Structurally Strong
  • Low Cost
  • Versatile, and…
  • Readily Available

There are places like Container City, in London where you can rent a “Container Condo.” They work in the housing marketplace, and the rents are reasonable.  Studios go from about $350 USD, up to about $2000 USD per month, depending on how big they are. The studio’s have everything that “a conventional building does. The only thing that really sets them apart is the exteriors, which have been left rather industrial, and the fact that many of the units sport “portholes” instead of traditional windows.

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Both of those “peculiarities” could nave been easily changed, and you wouldn’t know WHAT was under that siding, and behind those double-hung windows.

Sounds great, right?

Here’s the rub:

If ISBUs are so cheap and are gaining such popularity, (especially now, during the current state of “housing failure” that we’re living with),  why aren’t we all rushing out, finding some land and setting up home in our very own boxes? And why aren’t more of the developers doing this? Talk about an opportunity to provide a low-cost quality product, complete with GREEN recycling benefits?

Even though container houses have been here for decades, it’s a relatively “new” concept to the housing marketplace, and not many “production” people are doing it well. We didn’t exactly scream from the rooftops that we were living in shipping containers, back in the day.

In fact, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret… Shhhhh! sometimes we didn’t even have building permits. We just dropped them onto foundation blocks, hooked up water and power, and lived as quietly as we could. After all, it was the middle of the forest? Who knew?

Now, when people do that, they call them “wilderness cabins.”

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The cool thing about them then, and even now… is they were cheap, they were “Tonka Tough,” and they went up fast. Isn’t that what America needs right now, especially in places like the Hurricane belt, and Tornado Alley?

Another cool thing about these Container developments is that they have the ability to be “self-contained.” You can put them in places where other houses wouldn’t go. Places like brown-field sites without fear of contamination.

What’s a brownfield site? Well, according to Wiki;

“brownfield land (or simply a brownfield) is land previously used for industrial purposes or certain commercial uses. The land may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up.”

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And America is covered with places exactly like this.

Building “production” homes out of a container is an “off-site” operation, easy. Use warehouses to prefab the containers to suit your floorplan, and truck them to your site. Then you just set them in place with a crane. You could turn that “shoddy, dirty, dangerous” old industrial relic into a thriving community, in months. Months. Talk about turning America around!

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And, up to 80% of the construction materials could come from “recycled” sources.

Of course, you’re still going to heat and insulate, like a “normal” house. So, you’re not increasing the “expected ” carbon footprint. But I suspect the same minds that craft these boxes into place will embrace concepts like passive heating and air handling, and solar and wind power production to assist the local grid.

Those naysayers that argue about the “blight of boxes…” (you know, the “not in my backyard type…” right?) can be soothed by the simple use of siding, and modified roofs, just like any other house in the neighborhood.

Personally, I like the “Mad Max meets Armagedon” kinda look of Shipping Containers. They have character,  they look “modern and manly,” and most of all, they’re both cheap, and GREEN.

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If Travel Lodge can embrace them, it’s only a matter of time before your local Planning and Zoning Nazis are forced to!

I’m looking forward to the day when we can go into a county commission hearing, and spread our plans out on the table, without the local cop reaching for his holster. Aren’t  you?

Hey, I can dream, can’t I? Huh?

I bet my conservative stick-up-the um… er… well… neighbors wish this was an April Fools Joke, huh?

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin

And, please remember that we’re trying to figure out how to keep this blog going. If you enjoy the blog, please hit the PayPal button up there and donate a few bucks to keep it up and running! We really, really, need the help! Thanks!
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10 Responses to “When Money Falls From the Sky…”

  1. matt April 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  2. John April 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

    I was looking at this option but I can’t get them cheap enough around here 🙂

  3. Sarah April 2, 2009 at 4:20 am #

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  4. Segreeininy April 3, 2009 at 6:49 pm #

    Great site this renaissanceronin.wordpress.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

  5. Ex Boyfriend April 9, 2009 at 5:24 am #

    The style of writing is quite familiar . Did you write guest posts for other blogs?

    • renaissanceronin April 9, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

      What?

      Are you kidding? I’ve been asked NOT to even COMMENT on other blogs!

      Actually, they threatened to get “restraining orders!” 🙂

      If you have a blog, and you need a guest poster to help you along “the road to ruins“… I’m yer boy!

  6. prime land April 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    Hello, I have prime land in downtown atlanta , if you are interested in building one of these we can combine our resources to make it happen. Email me at atlien2422 at yahoo.com

  7. Todd April 27, 2009 at 6:22 pm #

    Great blog, appreciate the time and research put into this subject. I have been building traditional residential homes and commercial buildings for a number of years now. I have been researching the container homes as a business. I see the huge potential with it.
    I am based in Meridian Idaho. I am looking for contacts that have knowedge with this type of construction. If anyone can help me please email me at tapintoreality@q.com

  8. Cubbabzow May 20, 2009 at 9:23 pm #

    Terrific information! Hope to come back..

  9. Cory July 13, 2009 at 11:06 pm #

    I agree they are tonka tough and manly looking, all I can gaurantee is that when a tornado hits id rather be in something much stronger than your standard wooden home. I am building one in my home town in Canada soon, ill keep ya posted if ya want

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