A new company hailing from small-town Brewer, Maine (my home state) is creating value out of unused shipping containers in surprising ways. ISO Shipping Containers, as they are called, have only a 20 year lifespan. Because they are standardized, virtually all shippers in the world use the containers. Once the 20 years are up, the growing supply of unusable containers could either go to the dump or be put to better use. That’s exactly what SnapSpace is doing. They are serving as a middleman between the owners of obsolete ISBU modules and people who need housing, office space, storage space, or educational space. SnapSpace procures the unit, retrofits it to the specifications of the buyer, and delivers the final product to the jobsite, leaving minimal construction to be completed on-site.
As if building a structure out of a recycled structure weren’t green enough, SnapSpace will further focus on sustainability by using as much recycled material as possible and converting the ISBUs into energy-efficient units. They suggest uses as diverse as self-storage units, apartment buildings, temporary (or permanent) schoolrooms, and even disaster housing for FEMA.
Last but not least, the manufacturing jobs brought to the area as a result of this new company will help revive the local economy where some 400 jobs were lost with the closing of the ZF Lemforder plant in 2010.