First of all, we had to consider where we were putting the shipping container house and what we wanted to use it for – a remote weekend/vacation cabin. Given the location, we didn’t have electricity, gas, sewer/septic, or water, so the shipping container home plan had to take this into account. We decided to add gas (propane service), access to water (we had wells on the property), and electric generation capacity (run on propane). We decided not to install septic, as we were in an environmentally sensitive area, with mostly rock underneath a thin layer of topsoil. The risk of contamination of the watershed was too great. We also decided to run the gray water out onto the ground after letting it settle. This meant we were committed to only use biodegradable products in the shipping container house. Sulfates and phosphates became a big no-no.
Also, with the remoteness of the location, we had to consider maintenance and repair. Getting workers out would be very difficult, especially for plumbing or electrical problems. Everything we installed had to last a long time without repairs. “Buy cheap, buy twice” is a quote that stayed in my head as we developed the plan for our shipping container home.