Are ISBUs really “energy efficient” to convert?

Lately, people (mostly naysayers) have been pressing me to explain how repurposing an ISBU (Intermodal Steel Building Unit) can possibly be energy efficient.

Allowing for a few hundred pounds of wooden flooring, approximately 8,000 pounds of Corten Steel (often called ‘Weathering Steel’) is used to construct a 40′ shipping container. In order to melt a container back down into metal that can be reused in the manufacture of beams and sheets of steel, you’d have to expend 8000kwh of energy to accomplish the task.

Repurposing that same 40′ Container into an ISBU structure averages 400kwh of energy. We’re talking about 5% of the energy required to melt it down and start over again.

ISBUs are already weather-resistant. This means that you’re already weathered in when your boxes are set on site. Properly implemented construction timelines will insure that regardless of weather, your crew and your materials will stay dry and protected from the elements.

Because these boxes are made from steel, it also means that your site can be more easily secured to prevent vandalism and material and tool thefts.

Additionally, ISBUs are modular and allow for more efficient construction labor timelines. That translates to less money spent on labor and even less impact on the neighbors during your build-out.

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