One important guideline for sustainable building is to use materials which are locally abundant. Another guideline is that waste from one system can often be utilized as feedstock for another.
Shipping containers are abundant in the US due to current trade imbalances and are therefore inexpensive pre-built modules which some enterprising people have begun using to create residences, dorms, and commercial space.
Reza Pouraghabagher has written our newest topic area on Shipping Container Housing and will be adding more in the coming months. Follow the Resource links to see some completed projects.