Your low-impact home makeover

Learn how to lighten your footprint, from easy DIY tips to the top things to keep in mind for a sustainable home renovation

Top green home designs in the West

Sustainable materials and eco-friendly design principles reign at these exemplary low-impact homes

Cargotecture homes
Photo by Jack Parsons Photography; written by Allison Arieff

Home in an upcycled shipping container

Like heavy Legos, shipping containers made of steel or aluminum can be used as an inexpensive, and stronger than average, building block. Resistant to such forces as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, containers are naturally suited to such humanitarian projects as post-disaster housing and community centers but their versatility has also captured the imagination of designers and architects worldwide who’ve used them for everything from highrises to rustic cabins. In fact, there are enough cool container structures around to constitute a movement: some call it Cargotecture. Pictured is Eco Tech, the first repurposed container home permitted and built in CA's Mojave Desert, is one great example.

More: 7 innovative Cargotecture homes

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