BY: MATTHEW CHIN
PHOTOS BY: Japhet Alvarez/ S7vn Photography
In a forest on the outskirts of Ottawa, Canada, Joseph Dupuis built a home out of three shipping containers.
They cost $3,400 each. Dupuis’ home is a 355 square foot single-storey room with heated floors, a wood burning fireplace and solar panels on the roof. It took Dupuis three months to complete this cabin getaway.
As a renewable energy engineer in Algonquin College, he calls his home “a giant science experiment” while constantly tinkering with new additions. Currently, he plans to add an upper-level bathroom with a glass ceiling.
The 29-year-old barely has to pay for utility bills—his most expensive cost is his phone plan, since it includes Internet access. Even with heated floors in the winter, the cumulative total from heating costs to phone bills is $35.
Water is drawn from a neighbour, and flows into his home from a holding chamber behind the kitchen. There’s no toilet in the home, with Dupuis opting instead for an outhouse in the backyard, which keeps his water usage low and stops him from having to register the home as a “dwelling” (meaning he can break it down and move it whenever he wants).
Dupuis considers his home a proof-of-concept, showing that people don’t need to buy expensive homes and be in debt for the majority of their lives in order to achieve happiness.
“I want to help as many people as I can get out of the pocket of big banks and make people more self-sufficient,” Dupuis told HuffPost. “I see my friends buying $400,000 houses and they’re in debt for the next 35 years. It’s pretty backwards, we don’t need these expensive homes and all this stuff we have in our lives.” In the future he wants to add a couple more containers so he can work on his motorcycles near the house.