Lord Neil Benjamin
Lord Neil B Gibson on the Belize Eco-Village: Modular in Design and Scalability
There are a number of benefits in using ISBUs – inter-model steel building units – for home building or residential projects. Otherwise known as shipping container houses, these sturdy, steel structures are a captivating idea. Shipping containers are made from special steel in order to be strong enough to withstand rough conditions at seas and long exposure to outside elements while being able to protect the goods stored inside. They are made to a standard set of measurements in order to be stackable the world over. There are three sizes – 20 feet long or 40 & 53 feet long. Each shipping container has a width of 8 feet and a height of 8 feet 6 inches or 9.6 in high cube versions. Because of their uniform size, large number, and the fact that they were built to last, it became important to consider alternative uses for containers that began to stack up in back lots and shipping docks. Years ago, the military explored their potential for portable operation centers. It wasn’t too long, however, before their low cost and ready availability attracted the attention of architects and builders with a unique need – safe, fast, inexpensive construction for hospitals, office space, apartments, and homes. Besides the obvious quality of building material, there are several eco advantages to the use of this component. Globally these containers are discarded after their service life is finished. They are then used for artificial reefs, thrown in landfills or melted for scrap. The availability of these containers globally reduces our need to manufacture from virgin materials which are precious resources for the future of the world.