• SG Blocks recently launched SG Home, a line of sustainable houses made from shipping containers.
  • These shipping containers use mainly recycled materials and are very durable.
  • Here, Bill Rogers, COO of SG Blocks, explains how shipping container tiny homes can be sustainable.

No matter what kind of tiny house you choose, you’re making an exciting move that will enrich your life (as long as you can handle the small space!) and benefit the planet. But reducing the environmental impact of your home is not as simple as moving into any old tiny house — you’ll want to do your research to ensure that it's as sustainable as possible.

To help tiny home-seekers make the most out of their lifestyle, shipping container company SG Blocks recently launched SG Home, a line of sustainable houses and tiny houses made from shipping containers. We spoke with Bill Rogers, COO of SG Blocks to learn more about how shipping container tiny homes can be sustainable.

A shipping container tiny home.
The tiny homes are made durable by the weathering steel they are made from.

Can you make a tiny home from a shipping container?

Yes, you can absolutely turn a shipping container into a tiny home — the internet is filled with videos of people creating DIY tiny houses out of shipping containers, often on impressively tight budgets.

But to make things easier, SG is selling shipping container houses for those who aspire to live in a tiny home, but aren’t so into the whole DIY thing. SG Blocks also sells shipping containers for other uses — they have been used by the military, as EV charging stations, as COVID-19 testing stations, and commercially (such as Starbucks, Verizon, and Puma stores).

SG’s shipping container tiny homes are made from steel.

“The difference is in the materials,” Rogers tells Green Matters, explaining why SG Home tiny houses stand out from others on the market. While many houses and tiny houses are traditionally made from brick and wood, SG’s container homes are composed primarily of corten steel (aka weathering steel), which is designed for outdoor use, making the containers durable and resistant to natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes. And the more durable something is, the longer it will last, and therefore, the more sustainable it is.

“Sustainability is built into our mission at SG from the very beginning of the cycle. Your main building block is reused. It starts there. We reuse a lot of materials that our peers would just throw away,” Rogers says.

“We start with a recycled energy efficient solution as the base structure and build efficiently within the structure creating as little waste as possible,” he continues. “We often repurpose our waste into other projects or use rejected pieces to add in the shipping of our end product.”

Additionally, Rogers notes that SG’s maritime-grade shipping containers “are designed for their intended use to hold great weights, be watertight, and take the forces of nature.” Basically, these shipping containers are designed to remain intact no matter what nature throws their way — so why not live in one?

You’d never know these houses were made from shipping containers.

A shipping container tiny home.
A number of styles with a number of bathrooms and bedrooms have been designed by SG Homes.

SG helps customers with every stage of their tiny home journey. After you select a floor plan, SG assembles your shipping container off-site — in a process that takes 40 percent less construction time than other homes — the company delivers it to you, and then the company helps you with the interior design.

SG’s container houses start at $90,000. While that may sound like a lot for a glorified shipping container, these houses are actually a lot more than that. As of now, SG offers a wide range of finishes for its houses, as well as four different residential styles (though you can also work with SG to design a custom home of any size). No one would be able to tell that these homes are actually made from shipping containers — they just look like adorable little houses.

What is the World Economic Forum doing to support the Future of Real Estate?

While investable real estate has grown by more than 55% since 2012 (PwC), the COVID-19 crisis has underscored weaknesses in relation to human and planetary health along with drastic inequalities, leaving a stark reminder of the influence the built environment has on societies and the vulnerabilities that exist in times of crisis regarding how spaces perform.

Image: PwC

As the real estate industry looks towards recovery, the need for transformation is clear. Portfolios must be rebalanced, and distressed assets repurposed. Technology must be fully embraced, and sustainability and wellness must be at the core of design and operation. The affordable housing crisis that already existed pre COVID-19 must be systemically approached to ensure access to adequate and affordable housing. If the Real Estate industry is to deliver transformation, it is more important than ever to ensure that policy, financing and business solutions are aligned in delivering better buildings and cities.

The World Economic Forum has brought together CEOs from the Real Estate industry to develop a Framework for the Future of Real Estate to help drive the industry’s transition to a healthier, more affordable, resilient and sustainable world.

Typically, houses are classified as tiny homes when they are 500 square feet or less — but most of SG’s homes are a bit bigger than that.

The smallest SG house is the Bluebell Cottage, which has two bedrooms, one bathroom, and an open concept kitchen and living room. The square footage is not listed.

Then there’s the Beech Tree Cottage, which is 960 square feet, and has three bedrooms, one bathroom, and an open concept kitchen and living room.

The 1,280-square-foot Bungalow has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an open concept kitchen and living room.

Then there’s the two-story Cedar, which is also 1,280 square feet. The ground floor features a half bathroom, and an open concept kitchen, living room, and dining room. On the second story, you’ll find three bedrooms and a full bathroom.

Basically, SG’s shipping container tiny homes are a great compromise for those who want a taste of tiny home living, but aren’t quite ready for something quite so tiny.

“Our mission is to change the way people think about construction and building design, and reduce the cost and carbon footprint along the way,” Rogers tells Green Matters. “We use highly sustainable, maritime-grade shipping containers for a reason. We build faster, greener, and for less.”