Starbucks is about to unveil a new store in suburban Seattle built primarily of four used shipping containers — the large steel boxes used to store goods as they are transported long distances on boats and trucks.
Containers have become a hot commodity in the green building movement because so many of them are piling up at American ports and are in need of recycling, says Peter DeMaria, the principal in a design firm that does a lot of work with them. “Due to the trade imbalance with China, millions of containers are left in our ports every year,” he said.
And it just so happens the containers are perfect modular building blocks for construction. “We like the idea of up-cycling, that is, using a material and deploying it in nearly its original state,” Mr. DeMaria said. Adapting a container takes 5 percent of the energy needed to take steel, melt it down and create a new beam, he added.