Take 3 Shipping Containers and Build Off-Grid Home
That’s what you do if you are Joseph Dupuis, 26 years old, trying to finish college, working part-time and living paycheck to paycheck.
Put those three (3) shipping containers together and you have a 355 square-foot off grid home. A bit minimalist but much nicer than a camper and that when you consider the fact that because the home is built with 3 shipping containers, it is not too hard to dismantle and move them to set up your home in a new location. Not bad.
Joseph has decided to sell the home he has lived for the past two years for about $44,000 US or $58,000 Canadian. (He lives in Ottawa.)
The home is solar powered and uses battery packs for storage!
It has a simple open living, dining and kitchen areas and includes a fireplace.
Be sure to check out the photos.
The big-city lifestyle isn’t for everyone; it certainly wasn’t for Joseph Dupuis.
So he procured three shipping containers and combined them into a 355-square-foot, off-the-grid home.
The home has a full kitchen, small bathroom, and space for a living room area, bedroom area and dining room area.
Dupuis says living off-the-grid has taught him to think carefully about what appliances and activities use a lot of electricity.
“The scope of the project was to build something sustainable, something comfortable, something I could live in and save my money,” Dupuis says. “Shipping containers are nearly indestructible.”
In the summer of 2013, Dupuis’ father purchased a 100-acre farm in the country just outside Ottawa. As Dupuis helped create a road across the property, he came to a clearing near the far back of the farm.
“It was just beautiful, and I’m like, ‘Dad, this would be the perfect place for my shipping container cabin,’ so he said to go for it,” Dupuis says. “We started that afternoon, working on the logistics.”
Aside from his conceptual drawing, Dupuis had no plans to follow for how to create the cabin.
Dupuis spent 12 to 14 hours a day putting together the home–laying the foundation, installing doors, building cabinets where he wanted them, putting in the radiant-heat floor. Dupuis’ father helped him problem-solve.
Three months and plenty of trial and error later, Dupuis had completed his project.
The home–essentially one big, rectangular room–is completely off the grid, Dupuis says. A nine-panel photovoltaic solar system provides electricity, which is stored in several large batteries. The solar system was far and away the biggest expense, costing $25,000 on top of the $20,000 he spent on everything else.
The home is warmed via a system of heated glycol pumped under the floors, with a fireplace as a backup source of heat for particularly cold Canadian winters. Dupuis trades firewood for the use of a neighbor’s water, which Dupuis keeps in a 150-gallon holding tank. An accumulator pump charges the kitchen and bathroom faucet and shower.
After living in the home the past couple years, Dupuis has decided to sell. He has entirely repaid his dad and has returned to school at Algonquin College, where he also works.
He’s also starting a business to “bring relatively inexpensive renewable energy to the masses” and looking to reinvest the capital he put into the home.
But he’ll miss the cabin. “When I lived in the city, I didn’t have much of a community. Everybody kept to themselves,” he says. “But in the country, I had neighbors and it was a community-based life. We were all working together to live.”
Images: Japhet Alvarez/ S7vn Photography.