GEDO’16: Off-Grid Sea Container Cabin fulfills L.A. man’s childhood dream

Written for Green Energy Doors Open

Nestled in Kawartha Lakes lies an Off-Grid Sea Container Cabin made of 7 shipping containers. Designed by Jason Rioux, Vice President of NRStor and founder of Sea Container Cabin, the ‘Octopod’ features a unique Hub-and-Spoke design. The ‘Hub’ is a large centre octagon-shaped great room and each radiating container is a ‘Spoke’ that serves a different purpose – from a kitchen, dining, bathroom and bedroom to a workshop.

When we decided to debut our newly built ‘Octopod’ at GEDO’16, we really didn’t know what to expect. Located off the beaten path meant this event had to be a participant’s destination. With some luck, timely media and a GEDO podcast found its way to like-minded people who wanted to learn more about building sustainable homes using re-purposed shipping containers. Suddenly the inquiries poured in and people as far away as L.A. and Montreal began booking our tour.

Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed about building this exact home out of shipping containers. When I was notified of the GEDO’16 open house, I knew my partner Mary and I just had to see it in person. Next thing I know we’re on a plane to Canada and driving down the back roads in search of the Off-Grid Shipping Container Cabin. As I’m nearing retirement, and having learned so much from this project, I look forward to building my very own ‘A-pod’.”

– Andy Damiano, L.A. resident

The main features of the ‘Octopod’ include:

  • 1 KW solar power system for the entire cabin
  • Solar powered water pump and elevated water tower system
  • DC wiring for LED lighting and ultra efficient DC refrigeration, direct from battery banks
  • High efficiency DC air circulation fans
  • Cool roof system

Building a new home? It can cost you less – especially in the long run if you design energy smart systems and incorporate alternative construction materials.

Most of our GEDO’16 event participants were interested in how to design lower carbon footprint homes, how to reduce the construction cost per square foot by using alternative construction materials such as re-purposed shipping containers and how to take control of their growing hydro bills by incorporating a renewable energy system.

We truly hope our open house has influenced the next generation of home builds in an environmentally positive way – even if ever so slightly. Thanks everyone for your contribution to a wildly successful turnout at GEDO’16.

Andy and Mary Damiano traveled 4300km to view his childhood dream in person.

As we gear up for GEDO ’17, we will share some interesting stories of people who attended our event and why they ventured down a little dirt road to find the Off-Grid Shipping Container Cabin. If you’re planning to build a new home and wish to permit your very own shipping container home, contact us. We’re happy to help.



MoneySense: To Hell with this Housing Market


Romana King, MoneySense Senior Editor talks about how you may wish to consider the path less traveled when it comes down to buying a home in today’s Canadian housing market.

Being creative is a great way to break into today’s housing market without having a Crushing Mortgage or Participating in a Bidding War. You can always Consider Alternative Building Materials – just like us:! Here’s what King has to say about the ‘Octopod’.

When you think ‘out of the box’, more affordable options may present themselves.

These are the 5 Solutions King suggests:

  1. Skip the land value costs
  2. Buy a cottage instead
  3. Get dirty and go off-grid
  4. Consider Alternative Building Materials
  5. Or just go nomad

If you don’t want to fight the masses to purchase a home, I think it’s a great idea to think ‘out of the box’ and see where it takes you.

CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning host Wei Chen talks about the Octopod

Ever wanted to build something carpenter ants won’t eat? How about an off-grid container house?!? Wei Chen, CBC Radio’s host of Ontario Morning interviews Jason Rioux live on air (7mins – starts at 34:12).

CBC Radio Ontario Morning Wei Chen Jason Rioux Octopod Shipping Container Cabin


Green Energy Doors Open 2016 Podcast

Steven Hobé, is joined in-studio by Jason Rioux who is hosting a Green Energy Doors Open event this September 10-11, 2016 from 9am-2pm.

Listen to it here

Green Energy Doors Open 2016 Sea Container Cabin Podcast

Octopod featured in Toronto Star cover story

Photo: Tracy Hanes, Toronto Star

Jason Rioux watches his daughter Renee play in her jumper. Photo: Tracy Hanes, Toronto Star

Earlier this summer, Tracy Hanes of the Toronto Star spent some time at the Octopod to better understand what Jason had in mind when he designed his new cabin. Having lived for many years in the old wooden cabin that had much to be desired, Jason had a good sense of the aspects he wanted to improve. Some constant battles included keeping out mother nature – and burglars! And winter brought running water to a standstill while summer meant it could get hot indoors. Tracy also takes a closer look at the energy-efficient features in the space and here’s what she found interesting…

The ‘Octopod’ is featured on the cover of Toronto Star’s New in Homes section for July 16, 2016.

We’re hosting Green Energy Doors Open ’16

Green Energy Doors Open 2016Green Energy Doors Open is a province-wide event that showcases individual, community, and commercially sustainable energy projects. It is held every September and we’re so excited to be participating in this year’s event!!

The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association organizes the annual Green Energy Doors Open event and aims to showcase advancements in the sector, demonstrating that Ontario is already on the path to building a 100% clean, sustainable energy system. And the best part is the event is free of charge to attend.

Shining the Spotlight on Sustainable Energy in Ontario

Sea Container Cabin is looking forward to hosting a Green Energy Doors Open ’16 event. Come out to learn more about building sustainable homes using re-purposed shipping containers.

Features include:

  • 1 KW solar power system for the entire cabin
  • Solar powered water pump and elevated water tower system
  • DC wiring for LED lighting and ultra efficient DC refrigeration, direct from battery banks
  • High efficiency DC air circulation fans
  • Cool roof system
We will be providing tours and highlighting all the various Green Energy systems that have been installed in our OCTOPOD demonstration unit.


When: September 10 and 11, 2016 between 9am-2pm
Green Energy Doors Open blogged this event.
Green Energy Doors Open podcast for this event.

We look forward to seeing you!


We made the 2015 favourites list!

green energy futures logoWe are thrilled and very honoured that the Octopod has become one of Green Energy Futures favourite stories of 2015…

Who would’ve thought that the video clip of the Octopod would have collected 94,000 views in 2015 (as of August 2016, 200,000). And if we’re able to inspire even one person to live a sustainable life, we would consider this remarkable endeavour a successful one.

David Dodge, the producer and host of Green Energy Futures when he discovered that we’re participating in Green Energy Doors Open ’16 said:

Great that you guys are sharing your experience. It’s a wonderful story.

Thank you for coming all the way from Calgary to capture our project on video and sharing it with the online world.

Green Energy Futures visits the Octopod

David Dodge, producer of Green Energy tours our Off-Grid Shipping Container Cabin. This video captures what makes this build unique from an extreme energy efficiency perspective.

To view the full article, please visit Green Energy

Cottage Life features our Cozy Shipping Container Cabin

It’s time to celebrate!!! The finishing touches are complete and the interior has been designed. And just in time for cottage season.

 Sea Container Cabin Interior Rebecca Purdy

GREAT ROOM: Centre of OCTOPOD’s Shipping Container Cabin

We’ve been anxious to unveil the newly decorated cabin by Toronto’s superstar interior designer Rebecca Purdy but knew we needed to be patient. For more pictures and final details of this project,  read the feature published on Cottage Life written by Samantha Edwards.

Toronto Community Centre adds Off-Grid Solar Sea Container Retail Space

Scadding Court Community Centre located in downtown Toronto, Canada has absorbed our former Sea Container Cabin Showroom (Model URBAN) for their repurposed Shipping Container Market 707.

This new space will become their largest retail store but if you look at the space closely, it’s completely different from the typical repurposed shipping container retail store.

Sea Container Cabin Showroom Scadding Court Community Centre Toronto Market 707

What Makes Sea Container Cabin Retail Spaces Different than the typical SeaCan Retail Space?

  1. It’s off-grid using green energy. Solar power is used in this retail space.
  2. It’s a one-trip container meaning we had this built and shipped to us so this new space will enjoy a very long life.
  3. It’s a high cube giving us 8 feet of finished height.
  4. We validated any sprays used to prepare the one time shipment across the ocean was harmless to humans and inert making it suitable for living quarters
  5. Our spaces are insulated providing comfort in extreme summer and winter weather. But the insulation isn’t just for heat and cold, it also improves sound transfer. If it rains, you can still hold a conversation instead of feeling like you just walked into a heavy metal concert.
  6. There was ZERO cutting of this sea container cabin maintaining security of our premises. Just pull the steel doors and walk away with peace of mind that your retail space is secure.
  7. The sliding door entry system spans the entire 20foot length of the container. It is designed as an attractive storefront without modifications to the original container.

4 Guiding Principles to our Sea Container Cabin Construction:

Rule #1:

We do not cut out shipping container walls that would require reinforcements. The URBAN design has ZERO cuts. The OCTOPOD design’s non-structural back walls were removed but those cuts did not require any reinforcing.

Rule #2:

Design all spaces with sustainable living in mind. Even if you wish to remain connected to the electricity grid, keeping energy conservation in mind will help you make the best energy decisions. Plus, it’ll reduce your monthly electricity bills.

Rule #3:

Construct spaces using the best materials available on the market and consider all available alternatives to typical construction materials. TEST, TEST, and RE-TEST these installed materials and validate they pass our expectations for ease of use, quality, and most importantly, work well for our cold winters.

Rule #4:

Our team of engineers, site designers, contractors and our interior designer Rebecca Purdy are capable of great ideas and only the highest quality workmanship. Our team believes in Sea Container Cabins and sustainable living. They’re smart, patient, have attention to detail and most importantly show pride in their workmanship.  This combination of character traits happens to attract respectful and pleasant folks to work with so our exciting projects have always remained fun projects.

When we started Sea Container Cabin, our goal was to meet all 4 mandates while proving out that construction costs can come in at half of traditional construction costs. So far, we are proud to say it’s been consistently the case.

Practical shipping container living and working spaces that are appealing to the eye , includes the comforts of modern day living and were constructed at a reduced cost can exist.

Want to Create New Sea Container Retail Space? Build a Cottage? Or Add Living Space to your Backyard? 

We’d be happy to share our knowledge with like minded individuals who believe in sustainable living. Reduce, reuse, recycle & renewable off-grid sustainable living does exist. And the Province of Ontario building inspector said it best,

“We weren’t sure what the end result would look like however your Sea Container Cabins challenge the status quo and are tastefully designed and constructed.”

If you have any questions about what we can do for you, or if you’d like a tour of the OCTOPOD or URBAN models to get a feel of what it truly is like living in a Sea Container Cabin, just contact us.