This holiday season, there will be a lot of discussion and awareness about homelessness. This is due to the fact that many Americans feel more charitable during the holiday season and thus, there is greater attention to local charity organizations. However, homelessness is a year round problem. With limited housing and an increasing real estate industry, affordable housing is not always available. With modular buildings, however, two problems could be solved. These problems are the overabundance of unused modular buildings and high populations of homelessness.
The overabundance of unused shipping containers
There are millions of unused shipping containers in storage today. Many of these shipping containers will never be used. Some have only been used for minimal use, while others have never been used for shipping before. Because they are so large, it is not easy to break them down for material use. However, they could be refurbished and turned into modular buildings for the homeless. The already existing structure makes it an affordable housing option for many.
The affordable renovation of modular buildings
Building a new house from scratch requires a lot of materials and it can get costly, very quickly. Recycling modular buildings, however, does not require as many materials and is a very affordable living option. Additionally, they can be renovated in a much quicker timeline than a new house can be built in. Produced in one fifth the time and at half the cost of on site built homes, manufactured housing that is assembled in a controlled, factory environment uses fewer materials and generates 35 to 40% less waste than comparable on site built units. These portable buildings are a great alternative to expensive new builds.
They mimic the same features of a traditional built home
Some might worry that portable cabins are not sufficient living. Yet, many modular buildings that are designed out of unused shipping containers mimic the same exact features of a traditionally built home. In fact, extensive builds often require the same build codes and regulations. Any residential accessory building that is larger than 200 square feet will require a building plan review and permit. Regardless of the size, any electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work will also require a permit and all building locations must honor city zoning and subdivision setbacks. The house will follow all of the normal city regulations.
Reduced utility costs
In addition to the cost of the materials and build, the new homeowner will also have to cover the utility costs. In a larger sized house or a house that is inefficient, this can also get very costly. Fortunately, modular buildings are also known for being very energy efficient. The Northwest Portable Classroom Project conducted by Washington State University in 2003 found that portables built to the 1993 code were 44% more energy efficient than models built 25 years prior. Further, the portables built to 2000 codes are 20% more energy efficient than the 1993 models. Because these portable buildings for sale follow the same build codes and they are a much smaller square footage, they are actually extremely energy efficient.
Despite lower unemployment rates, there still remains a homelessness problem in the United States. With increased employment come increased real estate costs, making it difficult to achieve affordable housing. With the recycling of unused shipping containers, we can make a significant dent in the homelessness problem. These portable containers can be converted into portable buildings that are cost effective, energy efficient, and have the same amenities and features as a traditional house.