the best climate to live in a shipping container home - o melhor clima para viver - ¿Cuál es el mejor clima para vivir en una casa de containers?
el mejor clima para vivir en una casa de containers

One of the most common questions we receive is: What’s the best climate to live in a shipping container home? Most people take their local climate into consideration before deciding to build their home using a shipping container.

If you reside in tropical regions, you might worry about your container home becoming stiflingly hot. If you’re in colder climates, the concern might be about your home being chilly throughout the year. Container homes are suitable for nearly all climates, as they are prepared to become dwellings before being inhabited. Today, we’ll explore how to prepare your containers to suit both warm and cold climates.

The Best Climate to Live in a Shipping Container Home, if Your Climate Is Warm:

Previously, we’ve discussed in detail how to keep your container cool during the warmer months. Here, we’ll focus on designing your container to be suitable for warm climates.


What's the Best Climate to Live in a Shipping Container Home?
The Best Climate to Live in a Shipping Container Home?

The best way to keep your container home cool is to prevent heat from entering it in the first place. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by keeping the majority of your home in the shade.

This prevents direct sunlight from shining onto your containers, which would otherwise raise the indoor temperature through solar radiation. To keep your container home shaded, plant trees or shrubs if you have space.

Two of the fastest-growing trees are Northern Catalpa and Hybrid Poplar. Both of these trees grow around 8 feet each year. In about a year, they will be much taller than your original container and provide shade. Northern Catalpa develops an incredibly thick canopy of leaves, which helps block sunlight.

If you plan to use trees as shade, it’s important to also consider your house’s orientation. Remember that the sun will be hottest in the afternoon.

Where is your house located? Keep in mind that the main sun exposure could be from the west in one location but from the south in another. Plant most of your trees to provide shade that blocks the afternoon sun, according to your specific location.


If sunlight penetrates through plants that block the shade, the best approach is to ensure your roof reflects, rather than absorbs, heat. A simple step is to paint your roof white if it’s currently a darker color. White does a better job reflecting light and thermal energy away from your shipping container home.

Ventilated Containers for Hot Climates:

Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that ambient heat will enter your containers at some point. When it does, your containers should be prepared to expel the heat and keep it cool.

Ensure that your home is exceptionally good at letting out heat. Otherwise, you’ll feel like you’re living in a sauna every day. Both your insulation and ventilation need to be properly designed and installed. Regarding insulation, most people use spray foam insulation, and we’ll discuss this in much more detail later in this article.

Ventilation can be passive or mechanical. Passive ventilation uses nature, i.e., wind, to cool your home and is usually done with a vent or a whirlybird. Mechanical ventilation operates with electricity and is often done with an exhaust fan.

Read more about how to ventilate your shipping container home for further assistance with ventilation.

The Best Climate to Live in a Shipping Container Home, if Your Climate Is Cold:

In warmer climates, we’re trying to retain heat, whereas in colder climates, it’s exactly the opposite. We want to keep heat inside our containers to stay warm. Earlier, we’ve detailed how to keep your container warm during the colder months. This section will focus on how to design your container to be suitable for cold climates.

Insulation for Cold Climates:

If you don’t have adequate or appropriate insulation for your local climate zone, it will be very challenging to keep your container warm, and your heating expenses will be high. You have three main insulation options for your containers: spray foam, panels, or blanket insulation. However, spray foam insulation is the most recommended.

Spray foam insulation provides a seamless vapor barrier, something that the other two insulation options don’t offer. This is crucial for controlling condensation. Spray foam insulation is usually applied internally to containers; however, it can also be sprayed onto the external covering of containers if you prefer to keep the metal walls on the inside.

When living in a cold climate, you want high insulation with an R-rating (the R-rating measures how effective your insulation material is; the higher the number, the better the material will resist heat transfer). Another benefit of spray foam is its flexibility; it can be used to seal small gaps to prevent hot air from escaping the container.

You can read more details about insulating the walls of your shipping container home in our article: “How to Insulate Your Shipping Container Home from Cold and Heat.”


Losing heat through the roof is one of the most common ways a house loses heat. The best way to avoid this and prepare your containers for cold weather is to fully insulate the roof space. Again, for insulating your attic, you can use spray foam, panels, or blanket insulation.

If cost is a concern, blanket insulation might be a good choice, but you should seriously consider how to deal with potential condensation. However, if cost is not an issue, spray foam insulation is the best option.


When building with a container in a cold climate, the last thing you want to overlook is the size and location of windows. Besides roofs, windows contribute significantly to heat loss in your container home.

The Victorian government in Australia states that: “A single pane of glass can lose nearly 10 times more heat than the same area of insulated wall.” It’s evident that this is essential to consider when designing your container home. Since windows lose so much heat, you probably wouldn’t want to design a container home with large floor-to-ceiling glass panels in a cold climate like Alaska.

While insulated windows with double or triple panes exist, they’re more expensive and still lose a fair amount of heat. If you must have windows, consider adding curtains or insulated blinds to minimize heat loss through the window.

Now that you know that nearly all climates are suitable for living in a shipping container home, let me know if climate influenced your decision on where to locate your home.

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