How Energy Efficient are Container Homes?

Container homes are energy efficient in themselves having a smaller footprint than traditional homes. They are also required to be insulated to be habitable. This keeps heating and cooling costs low. One can also however employ additional energy-saving strategies to increase the performance of container homes.

Image from Spectacular Container House with an Unbeatable Location | Living in a Container

What Makes Container Homes More Energy Efficient?

Having a smaller footprint, naturally, container homes will take less power to light up and heat or cool. This means your resources are kept to a minimum and fully utilized giving it a higher efficiency than your typical home. 

Also, since all container homes need to be heavily insulated to be habitable, this puts another one up traditional homes that may have no insulation. Insulation plays a significant role in regulating indoor temperature to a comfortable level. This results in needing less energy to cool or heat your home through appliances. Less energy spent equals fewer electricity bills to pay! (1)

A non-insulated container home will do the exact opposite of being energy efficient.  Instead, it’ll take a tremendous amount of energy to cool or heat your home to s comfortable level. 

Be nit-picky with the insulation used for your container home. Ask for the type of material used, the brand, and specifications. Ensure they are all over your floors, walls, ceiling, and roof. Opt for low VOC to VOC-free insulation to keep your home non-toxic and safe. (2)

Using straw bales for example would render you high energy and low carbon points as you’ll be using a byproduct of grain. You’ll actually be saving more on energy on what otherwise would’ve been an agricultural waste product that needed more fuel to burn. However, before going into an alternative eco insulation material, consult your building professionals as this may not be suitable for your climate. 

We have a detailed and step-by-step account ready for you here! Best Ways To Insulate Your Shipping Container Home – prefabie. 

Each square foot saved means less energy spent to maintain and operate those spaces. It also means less energy was already spent at the very beginning — during construction! This gives your home less embodied energy. This by default makes tiny homes and container homes more energy efficient than most. (3)

Image from Spectacular Container House with an Unbeatable Location | Living in a Container

Energy Saving Strategies 

All kinds of homes whether traditional, prefabricated, or container home can achieve great energy savings with these strategies. 

Passive technology is always the best way to go. This means utilizing your natural resources of sun and prevailing winds to your advantage. This is achieved by your architects, that will analyze your site and its effect on your structure. Design solutions like window placements, sun louvers, and even landscaping will be carefully placed according to your microclimate.

For existing homes, active strategies that use technology can aid in energy savings. Solar panels are still a go-to for every eco home. Installing smart technology with sensors greatly helps in reducing the use of lights and cooling systems when rooms are not in use or occupied. 

Opting for LED lighting and energy-saving appliances (like those with Energy Star ratings) will significantly help in lowering those energy bills. They’ll also give off less heat in your home! Low-flow plumbing fixtures such as toilets and shower heads, ceiling fans, heat pumps, and waste composting are all great additions to lowering power consumption. (1, 3)

Note that every purchase you make for your home can play a part in its overall energy efficiency. Perhaps your water heater or TV is a power guzzler. Appliances that consume a lot of energy often also give off a lot of heat. This leads to your air conditioning systems working harder to keep your space cool.

Of course, a green roof will have several eco benefits. Do note however that they need to be maintained and structurally require more support to carry the soil. Container roofs being made of impermeable steel make a good base for the waterproof membrane to lay on. (2)

For those hot summer months, the vegetation of your roof garden can act as a buffer from the sun. This in turn will naturally keep your home cooler, again with your air conditioning systems working less hard. Green roofs also protect your container home’s roof, prolonging its life. Cooling the roof, also helps your solar panels operate at peak efficiency preventing any overheating. (4)

Energy Saved by Opting for Shipping Container Homes

Discarded shipping containers would need to be melted with an enormous amount of energy of 8,000 kWh. That’s only for one container. Compare that to the amount of energy it would take the modify and renovate the container into a home would be only around 400 kWh. 

As society recovers from the pandemic, global trade and business as usual will rapidly return. Companies will definitely be rolling out more shipping containers to pick up the pace in profits. (1)

Choosing to go with a shipping container home in itself saves a lot of energy as you’re making use of an existing structure. You are not expending any new energy on raw materials, processing, transporting, and constructing on your site. 

The amount of construction waste is expected to double by 2025 to 2.2 billion tonnes. (1)

More on the environmental impact of shipping container homes in our piece, Are Container Homes Sustainable? – prefabie. 

Image from Spectacular Container House with an Unbeatable Location | Living in a Container


  1.  Why and How Shipping Container Houses are Environmentally-Friendly? – Eco-friendly, Pre-built and Mobile Tiny House I Popuphut
  2. Are Container Homes Sustainable? We Weigh The Considerations 
  3. How Can We Make Container House Energy Efficient 
  4. Are Container Homes Sustainable? | 5 Great Ways to Make an Eco-Friendly Container Home