Refrigerated Shipping Containers

So you want to build with shipping containers but don't want the hassle of having to insulate? Refrigerated shipping containers come in the same modular sizing as other ISO containers but have the distinct advantage of already being highly insulated. This benefit does come at a cost though, as they are more expensive than standard containers.

Refrigerated storage containers are more  readily available in 20’ (6m) and 40’ (12m) sizes, and are often referred to as ‘reefers’.


Refrigerated or Insulated Containers?

There are variations in this style of container depending on the goods that they are transporting, and whether they require full refrigeration.

For building purposes it is worth noting whether a container you are considering purchasing is refrigerated or insulated as this can affect the internal size of the unit you buy. .


Refrigerated Containers

  • Containers with integrated refrigeration units with built in compressor/condenser will have slightly reduced length internally (around 300mm/12”).
  • Containers that plug into to a mobile refrigeration unit (also called a clip on refrigeration unit) are a standard size internally. These containers are known as porthole containers as they have distinctive porthole openings on the outside for input and output connections.



Insulated Containers

  • Containers that are highly insulated but do not have connections for refrigeration. 

Insulated containers can have various types of insulation which will affect the price and the R value.


Other Considerations

Keep in mind that refrigerated and insulated units are much heavier due to the extra weight of the insulation and interior skin.

Creating openings in an insulated container will reduce the insulative qualities so consider double glazing for doors and windows.



To Shipping Container Living from Refrigerated Shipping Containers

More on Types of Intermodal Shipping Container



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