Re-Use of Shipping Containers

Isn’t it good to know that the shipping industry is playing a role in recycling natural resources? While the thought of reusing shipping containers for emergency housing after a natural disaster caught the imaginings of 8th graders I worked with in a recent “Future City” contest proposal, DeMaria Design has brought the concept into reality. DeMaria’s hybrid design for a Redondo Beach container house uses conventional stick-frame construction combined with eight repurposed steel shipping containers to form a two-story home.

“For me as an architect, the challenge has always been how to give my clients the highest level of design while still keeping the projects on budget,” says Peter DeMaria, one of the country’s first architects to incorporate steel cargo containers into residential designs. His Redondo Beach container house, located in Southern California, won the American Institute of Architecture’s Excellence in Design Innovation Award in 2007.

DeMaria tells me that the shipping containers were purchased locally from a Los Angeles area supplier with consideration given to original fabrication, age, condition, and even the previous cargo shipped within the container.

The containers were retrofitted off-site, before being assembled on-site to help further reduce labor costs during installation.

With the large number of shipping operations located around the New York/New Jersey area, this technique may be a worthy consideration in the re-building of the eastern sea board communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Redondo Continue Reading…

Plastic bags

Have you been shopping lately? Whether it is the grocery store, hardware store, big box store, whatever, you get the question: “Do you want a bag?”

Hello, of course I want a bag, how else am I going to carry my purchases to the car/home? But wait a minute, those bags will cost you 5¢ each. What? Why? “Because it’s company policy.”

Er, right – where does the money go? Well, one answer I received was “to the company”. For what purpose? “I don’t know”. Another reply was “well, the company has to buy the bags, so you have to pay for them”. And another, “…it’s the law.” Hey people, check your surroundings, that only applies in the City of Toronto – stop insulting our intelligence.

So what’s next? When we go to the checkout, are we going to be billed for the cashier’s time to check us out, because the company had to hire staff? Well, if that is the case, why are we not seeing price reductions where there are self-serve checkouts? And one store I was in, the bags are positioned so that the customer cannot access them. Hell, it wasn’t all that long ago that the bags were at the end of the checkout when the grocery stores forced self bagging on us.

From Stewardship Ontario: “That’s why those in the anti-bag-ban camp Continue Reading…