Sitting near Joshua Tree, California in the Mojave Desert is an energy efficient new home and studio built by architect Walter Scott Perry of ecotechdesign out of six re-purposed steel shipping containers. Also known as the Tim Palen Studio at Shadow Mountain, the 2,300 square foot home is the first permitted shipping container house to be built in the Mojave Desert. In true hybrid style, based on the Toyota Prius concept of efficiency, the home design combines pre-engineered building with energy conservation features such as a solar home shading system, a movable living green roof, and a 10,000 gallon water storage tank plus a separate 3,000 gallon tank for rainwater harvesting capability.
The 1 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 2-story home was built with a client-requested photography studio and separate storage building. The steel framework and insulation system not only administers energy efficiency that exceeds California code requirements by 50%, but also provides exceptional strength for protection against wind, earthquake, and fire. To protect against the desert heat and wind, a perforated metal shade wraps the roof, south-facing walls and the solar breezeway which serves to direct a natural flow of air into the home. The house can also be heated and cooled with a ductless, mini-split heat pump system.
The large windows and doorways capture daylight as well as help with ventilation and evaporative cooling. The 160 square foot green roof hosts native desert plants and sedums irrigated by greywater to absorb heat, dust, and CO2. The photography studio is lit with six 22-inch solar tubes that can be manually controlled.