Shipping-container homes are gaining popularity. They can be cheaper to build than conventional homes and use fewer raw materials, and the finished structure has a modern, industrial look. Green builders can use one shipping crate to build a relatively small, single-family dwelling or combine crates for a larger house or even bigger structures, such as apartment buildings and schools. For example, Container City in London, built in 2001, turned 20 shipping containers into 15 eco-friendly live-and-work spaces [source: Trinity Buoy Wharf].
Their efficient size makes these mini-homes inherently green, and some enthusiasts even make them even more eco-friendly with green insulation, radiant heating, solar panels and rainwater-harvesting systems.