Ecotechdesign and its subsidiary ecotechbuild have completed what they say is the first permitted shipping container house in the Mojave Desert, near Joshua Tree, Calif.

“By combining high-efficiency and mass-produced modular construction methods with innovative design in one of the harshest climate zones in North America, we have developed a low-cost, sustainable, housing system that can be transported and quickly erected anywhere in the world,” says architect Walter Scott Perry, principal of ecotechdesign and founder of ecotechbuild.

Known as The Tim Palen Studio at Shadow Mountain, the container hybrid house prototype is a second-generation prefab design that consists of cargo containers and pre-engineered steel building components that were erected on site. It measures 2,300 square feet and has one bedroom, one and a half baths, and a studio. “The typical housing project in San Bernardino County takes one to three months to go through entitlement and permitting alone,” says contractor Eric Engheben, president of 44 West Construction. “Our project was approved and permitted in just one week.”

In addition to the speed of construction, the hybrid system allows home buyers to select a variety of green options. For example, the Palen Studio comes with a green roof, greywater recycling and water harvesting, solar shading, recycled flooring, solar daylight tubes, natural ventilation, solar power, and roof-mounted solar hot water panels that support a radiant floor heating system.

This kit-like housing product is being offered for the first time to homeowners who want more than what is currently available with pre-fab and manufactured housing, even custom construction, the companies say.