When living in a container, a good degree of insulation is essential. The steel composition of shipping containers conducts thermal energy strongly, and without insulation you would quickly burn through your budget on heating and cooling – especially in warm climates. Insulation also prevents condensation and moisture which can ruin your stored belongings such as art, food, clothing, electronics, etc.
Depending on your goals for your shipping container you can use a number of different insulating methods. Many people choose spray foam as it requires no framing to install, it has a high R-value (resistance to heat) and is durable. It can, however, be a bit more expensive than other insulating methods.
Another option is to frame in the container like a normal construction project and then apply insulation using 2x4s on either side of the structure. This can be a bit cheaper than spray foam but can be more time consuming to build. It can also be difficult to keep clean as it is susceptible to mold and mildew if moisture accumulates.
Some people choose to use a combination of different materials such as strawbales and mud or stucco over their containers to provide a more sustainable form of insulation. This can be an effective solution to reduce the amount of air conditioning or heating your container will need to run, while also providing a more rustic aesthetic.
Other options for insulating a shipping container include Styrofoam panels, loose-fill insulation such as shredded paper or perlite, and blow in fiberglass. Loose-fill insulation can be messy and time consuming to install, but is effective in cold climates as it retains heat. In hotter climates, a radiant barrier can be installed which is designed to reflect the sun’s infrared radiation thereby keeping your space cooler. shipping container insulation