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8×40 Shipping Container Tiny Home Built by Students

This 8×40 shipping container tiny home was built by students at the Construction Careers Academy at Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas.

It’s an LEED container home with solar panels and a water collection system so it’s ready for off-grid living.

Inside you’ll find a modern kitchen, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and more with approximately 320 sq. ft. of space inside.

The dimensions are 8′ x 40′ and the home is scheduled to be auctioned with a starting bid price of $29,000 this May 16, 2015 at 11:00 AM. Learn more here.

Please enjoy the tour and re-share it with your friends for free below. Thanks!

8×40 320 Sq. Ft. Shipping Container Tiny Home


Images © Northside Independent School District

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Images © Northside Independent School District

Video: 8×40 Shipping Container Tiny Home

Learn more: Northside Independent School District

Our big thanks to Phil for tipping us in the comments!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Lake Lili
    May 1, 2015, 9:20 am

    What a great project for the students!

  • Dominick Bundy
    May 1, 2015, 10:46 am

    I like it,especially the large windows. Well laid out floor plan for a studio apartment type floor plan. but does lack in closets..

  • SteveDenver
    May 1, 2015, 10:50 am

    A few weeks ago there was an article about a high school student who had built a tiny home and is now advising several high schools about their tiny home projects. Now there is this vocational project. I’m glad educational institutions are disseminating the good news of living tiny: consuming less, financial independence, and the side benefit of cooperative living with other tiny home residents.

  • SteveDenver
    May 1, 2015, 10:51 am

    P.S. Thanks, Alex, for the videos. You are a Tiny House hero!

    • Andrea Hardy
      May 2, 2015, 2:09 pm

      Agreed SteveDenver! Bravo Alex — and Andrea (behind every great man is a great woman;)

  • Varenikje
    May 1, 2015, 11:31 am

    Just wondering, isn’t that a conventional toilet? So does “off grid” mean you have sewer still?

    • Criss
      May 1, 2015, 1:33 pm

      It makes more sense for students to learn to install a standard toilet… having said that, septic tanks could still be considered off grid I’d imagine.

      • Amber
        May 1, 2015, 1:45 pm

        My dad has a standard toilet but just buried two barrels in lieu of septic… so does not flush the paper down. He has a small wood stove and burns it.

      • BrownLuster
        May 2, 2015, 12:18 am

        I agree with you Criss…the students in this program should learn how to install a standard toilet and also learn about the municipal sewer system hookups as well. Learning the skill of plumbing can help these students whether they decide to build or go tiny, small or not. This sounds like an excellent program…for all ages but especially teens and soon to be young adults.

        As for Varenikje’s sewer question, I would say NO. If you are hooked up to a sewer system, a municipality of some sort processes the waste from your sewer system through to thier water treatment facility/plant and the same municipal water treatment facility/plant most likely provides processed, clean water to the home as well. For that service, you will pay a monthly or quarterly munipal water/sewer bill.

        Going off-grid would in my opinion, mean that you’re not recieving any munipal or business utility services for electricity, heating or cooking fuel and/or water & sewer services…hence you’re not relying on those business services. Hence, you’re LIVING OFF GRID.

        So I’m thinking this house is hooked up to municipal & power utility services as I see many electrical outlets & an A/C unit but no solar panels, solar wall packs or heating stove in or around the house. So maybe one could assume that this house is hooked up (underground) to a utility company for electricity & maybe natural gas.

        As well, the toilet looks like a standard toilet & I don’t see any rain water system or rain collection buckets…so maybe one can assume that this home is hooked up to a municipal water & sewer system…which BTW, isn’t all bad at all. I wouldn’t mind supporting the city or municipality I reside in by paying them to process the sewer waste & provide me clean, fresh water all day everyday. Now paying a multi-million dollar utility company for electricity & natural gas for heating & cooking is a different story. If I could avoid that monthly fee by simply utilizing solar roof panels or these new solar wall packs for electricity & powering my A/C unit + have a wood burning stove for heat…I would do it in a heartbeat!! Unfortunately I would have to pay a small monthly bill to above mentioned multi-million dollar untility company for natural gas for my big arse gas stove as I will be cranking that full-sized stove/oven/broiler DAILY. Lol!

      • Varenikje
        May 17, 2015, 12:09 am

        It does say this in the article: “It’s an LEED container home with solar panels and a water collection system so it’s ready for off-grid living.” Just noticed that.

    • Comet
      May 16, 2015, 12:15 pm

      We live in the deep country and have a septic and a dry well—dry well gets the storm run off from foundation and interior basement drains and also we run the “grey water” from the washing machine into it to avoid over loading the septic. A “dry well” is nothing more than a barrel or even a cracked septic tank (sold cheap) filled with gravel and set in a gravel bedding. Slows down and percolates and filters the grey water.

      We also have a wood stove and a generator=–could go “off grid” altho we don’t have the whole house “switch” for generator power. The gen we have will power a few things like light and fridge and our Monitor heater–which BTW with a power inverter we can run FROM OUR CAR.

      We would like to add solar but our roof (of course!) runs directly North South—another house we own has the perfect roof but irony alert–the person living in there does not have HIGH enough electric bills so the solar company will NOT install panels. Our power bills with 7 people OTOH are staggering. One thing I would “kill” for is solar hot water—we have electric–yes I SAW you cringe! No gas lines out here either. Kitchen stove runs on propane which we get via a 20 Lb grill tank—actually stretches LONGER than when we had it hooked up to a larger tank and re-filled by a very large truck every few months.

      We also have a large wood stove installed altho we no longer use it for our day to day heat needs due to physical issues.

      I was recently in the greater Boston area and a cord of wood–unknown if this was a “face cord” or a “true cord”—was selling for $250. Around here a dry true cord (4x4x8 feet) will cost you around $120. The Mass price is probably still cheaper than oil if it is a true cord; certainly cheaper than kero. I have been surprised that the price of a cord here has not risen as much as you would think.

      In the Village we live near they have municipal water you can hook into–you don’t have to—but no sewer system=-=-and the town is built on an under ground lake. And it floods—after Hurricane Irene many people had well contamination and had to either hook up to the muni system or have their wells treated or re-drilled.

      There are lots of factors to living “off grid” One thing I read a few years back said that there has not been a “challenge case” on septic vs sewers–can your town FORCE you to hook in. Just yesterday I read that a nearby town–much larger than ours—was expanding their sewer district and IF you hooked in now it would cost “X”–a not large amount that I can’t remember exactly—but IF you hooked in LATER you would have to pay $2900 PLUS the cost of getting your own approved contractor TO do the work==and maybe more if they have to open the street to get your lines in. I know a relative paid a staggering amount( like $8000) to have an old sewer pipe replaced when it collapsed—are they really WORTH it except from a public health stand point in some urban areas?

      • May 17, 2015, 1:59 pm

        Re-high electric bills, these may be an option….there are youtube videos about how to make paper logs (burn in wood stove or fireplace), one about DIY air conditioner
        (from a cooler/fan/ice, works well on solar or electric) both by tinyhouselistings, and maybe a
        far-infrared heater would be more efficient than electric or gas……
        namaste’, rachel

    • greybeerd
      May 18, 2015, 10:03 am

      not necessarily. If the toilet is hooked up to a septic system, it would be off-grid. It’s not off grid if it’s hooked up to municipal sewer systems.

  • gale
    May 1, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Another outstanding home. So glad students are seeing this type of living arrangement instead of the larger homes that everyone builds. It’s a good lesson in economics as well as carpentry. Can’t beat that!

  • Myra
    May 2, 2015, 4:49 am

    Solar panels would solve a lot of extra expense problems of paying the electric companies. I didn’t see any living space or bedroom. It would have been nice to see how those are laid out in this small space. A wood burning stove would solve the cooking and heating problems if you live in an area where it gets cold in the winter. It would be very hot in the summer, though. Small windows up high that open would help with the air circulation. They would also let more light in to eliminate some of the use of electricity. This is a nice place for an individual or couple.

  • Peebee
    May 2, 2015, 5:33 pm

    @Myra-the floor plan is also included above, showing where the bedroom/living space is. It also indicates that the home has an air conditioner.

  • Teresa
    May 3, 2015, 10:28 am

    Does anyone know the cost of this house? I really like this and it is just the right size.

  • Michael
    May 16, 2015, 7:45 pm

    Well done. This example shows how all amenities of a bigger home like decent bathroom and huge kitchen can be put into a smaller one.
    The big windows make it doesn’t feel cramped. I am missing some awnings only to park a car and get a nice covered porch.
    It would be interesting to know about the weight of the unit.

  • Trish
    May 16, 2015, 9:39 pm


    Learning the construction trades can be a great thing for young people (even old people like me).

  • Trish
    May 17, 2015, 10:41 am

    Kuddos to the students. They did a heck of a job. Exposing the younger generations to tiny house building, and hopefully living, will give the movement a boost in the future. I only see good things from this. As much as I like their kitchen, I would prefer a smaller one and have more living space. That’s just my opinion. Great house though.

    November 14, 2015, 5:13 pm


    • kristina nadreau
      May 15, 2016, 7:38 pm

      Janice, this blog is for people who want to educate themselves about small & tiny house building and living, this is not a site for ordering homes of any size.

  • Barbara
    May 15, 2016, 2:19 pm

    Stunning example of what can be done, even by inexperienced young people under supervision. Kudos to them, and to their instructor! Very, very well done!

  • peewee henson
    May 15, 2016, 9:00 pm


  • Maria
    May 16, 2016, 7:28 am

    They did a great job! Now why can’t you have a tiny house on wheels that size? 95% of Tiny houses are going to be stationary so why not make them longer and wider. Tiny houses to me are just mobile homes that look like a real house. So why not build them bigger. I would build one 10x 40.

  • Susan
    May 16, 2016, 11:27 am

    Love the light and use of space. Layout is great. Where’s the color though? So sterile.

  • Perry M
    August 15, 2016, 4:43 pm

    Shipping containers are OK I guess but what about trailers that the 16-wheelers lug around the country?

    They are built for the road, weather, and carrying heavy loads.

    Why has no one ever made a tiny home from one of these?

  • Stephen Gibbs
    August 16, 2016, 3:01 pm

    Nice job students! Nice design! Beautiful kitchen & love the big windows. Just curious, what did it sell for at the auction?

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