Creating a Net Zero Container Home

Creating a Net Zero Container Home

Net zero homes have steadily grown in popularity, over the years, and it is easy to see why. These homes are smartly designed to achieve a net zero energy, helping to reduce the amount of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they are also economical, comfortable, and healthier. Net zero homes can be constructed in a variety of ways, using traditional building materials, though, if you are considering building a net zero home, consider building a net zero container home.


Shipping container homes, simply put, are homes which have been built using shipping containers. Container homes can be constructed to allow you to live off the grid, but they can also be built to achieve a net zero energy consumption. They are a great option if you are considering building a home that is comfortable, inexpensive, and good for the Earth.

What Is a Net Zero Home?

Generally speaking, a zero energy building produces enough renewable energy to meet its own annual energy consumption requirements. Zero energy homes are just like any home except they are so well-insulated, air-tight, and energy efficient that they produce as much renewable energy as they consume over the course of a year, leaving the occupants with a net zero energy bill and a carbon-free home.

There are two factors to consider. First, the home is utilizing the least amount of energy based on energy-efficient home construction and design.  Second, the home must accommodate the possibility of on-site energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy. The reason for this, is so the family can produce enough energy to not only power the home, but support the family all while accomplishing a net zero intake of grid energy.  

Why Build a Net Zero Home?

The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling. Humans are contributing to climate change through a variety of things, but one of the biggest factors to greenhouse gas emissions is energy. As a society, we are extremely reliant on fossil fuels, which have contributed to climate change.

Energy plays an important role in many aspects of our lives. Our homes are one of the main energy expenditures, as we use energy for lighting, cooling, heating, cooking etc. It is estimated that 40% of total U.S. energy consumption was consumed in residential and commercial buildings. Energy production and use are also connected to water consumption, use of goods and services, transportation, economic growth land use, and population growth. The production and use of energy (most of which comes from fossil fuels) also contributes to climate change, accounting for more than 84% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The good news is that many people, organizations, and businesses are trying to find new and innovative ways to combat climate change. Things like eco-friendly packaging help, but one big solution is the construction of zero energy homes and buildings.


Building Basics

Do you think a net zero container home is right for you? Before you start building your net zero energy container home, it’s extremely important to do the legwork and research. When a group of container homeowners was polled about what they wish they knew before building their homes, the top three responses were:  1) how to purchase the correct shipping containers, 2) the importance of building regulations and planning, and 3) finding a contractor with previous experience. The bottom line? Proper research and planning can save you from a whole lot of headaches down the road.

Before you even begin, check your local planning laws and building regulations. This is essential to any home building project, not just one for container homes. Don’t worry if nobody in your area has built a container home; it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t. Just check and make sure container homes fit the building regulations in your area. You will probably need the full design to ensure your home meets all the regulations, but it is a good idea to check to see if it is even possible, first.

The next step is to create a smart design and set a budget. The shape, size, building orientation, roof overhangs, insulation, appliances, heating and cooling equipment, and air barrier systems are just a few things that need to be taken into consideration. It is important to start with a solid plan so none of these critical details fall through the cracks. During this process, energy modeling software can be used to ensure the plans are reaching a net zero energy goal.


Decide who will build your home. Will you be building it yourself or will you hire a contractor? Building the home yourself can be extremely rewarding, but you will need the relevant skills and experience. If you decide to hire a contractor, make sure they have references and make sure to ask questions such as how they guarantee their work and if they have liability insurance.

As you get into the build, it is critical to properly seal and insulate your home. Air sealing a home is generally considered the most cost-effective way to reduce heating and energy use. Windows and doors are like big energy holes in any home, and it is just as important to choose materials that are heavily insulated to help make your home more energy efficient.

Select smart appliances. From your home water heater, to the heating and cooling systems, to lighting, it is important to select items that are energy efficient. Even selecting items such as your washing machine will play a role in your net zero home.

Bottom Line

A net zero energy home is a great option for those looking for a home that is eco-friendly and comfortable, and container homes offer the extra benefit of being economical and quick to build. If you decide to build a container home, make sure you do enough research and have a solid plan. The end result will be a uniquely beautiful home that is better for the environment.


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