The builder, David, is an avid surfer and wanted to build an off-grid surfing retreat by the coast. He chose shipping containers as his building blocks because they’re made with Cor-Ten steel which can withstand harsh marine environments, and even though they eventually rust, the rust will actually protect the containers rather than weaken them.
source/image: Exploring Alternatives
We spent two nights in this epic off-grid oceanfront cabin that’s built with 3 used 20ft shipping containers. It’s on a gorgeous beach in Portugal just north of Lisbon.He collects rainwater from the roof of a small shed, and stores the water in an underground water cistern. From there, he uses a solar powered pump to fill a 1000-liter container on top of his shipping container shed. This container provides water for the kitchen and bathroom sinks, the toilet, and the shower via gravity.
This is more efficient because the pump only needs to be turned on once to fill the large container on the roof, and then the rest of the water delivery is passive (gravity fed).For power, he has one 230 Watt solar panel, a 1500 Watt inverter, and a total of 180 amp hours of battery power.He also uses the sun to get hot water for the shower by running the rain water through 2 coils of black hoses on the roof.
For heat, he doesn’t need much since Portugal has a very mild winter, but the nights do get chilly so there’s a kerosene space heater. We figured out that it was a bit smelly when lighting and extinguishing the heater, so we’d bring it outside to do both, and then we avoided any smell indoors. It worked quite well and also has a built-in safety shut-off when the inside air has low oxygen or high carbon monoxide (we’re not sure which it measures)./Exploring Alternatives