How to heat and cool a shipping container home

Several different colored shipping containers

Heating and cooling a shipping container home can be a challenge. This article will explore some of the options you have for heating and cooling your shipping container home. We will also discuss how to make your shipping container home more energy-efficient.

Designing your shipping container house to take advantage of natural heating and cooling will help reduce the amount of energy you need for air conditioning during warm weather and increase the amount of heat you need in cold weather. You can also incorporate energy-efficient appliances into your home design.

Heating and Cooling Shipping Container Homes

There are several ways you can heat and cool a shipping container home. You’ll want to consider many factors that relate to your sites, such as climate and existing infrastructure when choosing heating and cooling strategies for your home. Here we will discuss general considerations and some of the available options:

1) Install Shades

An easy way to increase shading in your home is to install exterior awnings over the south-facing windows. Awnings are inexpensive and can dramatically affect cooling costs by reducing solar heat gain during hot summer months.

You could also consider installing exterior window coverings, such as shutters or blinds. They can be closed at night to reduce the amount of cooling needed and open during the day to allow free air circulation.

Awning for container home

2) Maximize the Rooftop for Solar Energy

Shipping containers can be especially effective at collecting and storing heat from the sun. Roofs are located on the south side of a shipping container, and most containers will collect more solar energy than is needed to keep your home warm during the winter months.

3) Make Good Use of Natural Ventilation

In the summer, when the air is warm and humid, it may be uncomfortable to have an air conditioner cooling your home. If you have a window in each room of your home, then natural cross-ventilation can help to cool your house by providing a free flow of fresh outside air.

4) Install Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant heating is very comfortable during cold weather. It also helps take the chill from cold, damp floors quickly and efficiently after hot summer showers. In addition to being a more comfortable form of heating, radiant floor heating is more energy-efficient than forced-air systems because it heats people instead of space. Forced-air systems can cool or heat your entire house at the same temperature.

5) Install House Fans

House fans are designed to help circulate warm indoor air in homes with no or low ceilings, such as shipping container homes. A simple box fan mounted near an open window helps to passively cool a house by increasing ventilation and exhausting hot air.

6) Use Caulking and Weatherstripping

Weatherstrip and caulk cracks around windows, doors, siding, and wiring penetrations. Installing weatherstripping around electrical outlets and light switches can reduce drafts and save energy. Weatherstripping also helps lower the cost of heating your home in winter by preventing conductive heat loss through these small pathways.

7) Consider Radiant Barrier

A radiant barrier is an extremely efficient method of reflecting heat away from your home. It can be installed under the roofing and siding materials to keep your roof and walls cool, preventing them from releasing excess heat into your living space. A properly installed radiant barrier will dramatically decrease the demand for AC during hot summer months, making it a very efficient way to heat your home.

A radiant barrier being used to insulate a container home

Bottom Line

Creating an efficient shipping container home requires careful planning. It’s important to consider shipping containers when planning your living space to maximize views, natural light, and ventilation. Once you’ve finalized your design plans, you can begin looking at heating and cooling options that suit your needs and those of the site where you plan to build.

Keeping these factors in mind will help you design a custom shipping container home that is comfortable, efficient, and affordable.

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