Printing The Future: 3D-Printed Homes Offer Affordable, Eco-Friendly Solutions Across The Nation

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As communities across the nation grapple with housing affordability, several companies are figuring out how to use 3D printers to provide less expensive homes.

Green, clean, and efficient 3D homes are popping up across the country. They're printed in place, layer by layer, using concrete blends. Building a 3D home requires less labor and reduces waste on the job site.

Habitat for Humanity Peninsula & Greater Williamsburg in Newport News, Virginia, has completed and sold three 3D-printed homes, CEO Janet Green told U.S. News & World Report.

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"There are many cost efficiencies that these tools will help with," Green said. "For instance, it took us about 35 hours to print the exterior walls of each home. Labor right now for that is about four people. Normally, you need a lot more people to build the framing of the house."

Colorado-based Alquist 3D looks for ways to build 3D-printed homes with locally sourced materials, which also means they have small carbon footprints. Alquist 3D aims to build carbon-negative houses and remove carbon from the air.

Although 3D-printed homes aren't as affordable as they are predicted to be, buyers realize other benefits.


"Once you buy a house the big problem that I see with my family, for example, is maintaining the home, things like the cost you have in energy, the cost you have in maintenance," Alquist 3D CEO Patrick Callahan told U.S. News & World Report. "This material doesn't burn, there is no water permeability, it can withstand hurricane winds. The energy cost that you have with this material goes down by 50% the day you move in because of the R-factor (insulation value) of the material. It can last hundreds of years based on the strength of the material — that is a game-changer for families."

3D-printing technology isn't just for housing. According to Robb Report, a 3D-printed hotel and a neighborhood of 3D-printed homes will be built in West Texas. The 62-acre development at desert campground El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas, will offer an open-air bathhouse as one of its amenities. It will include a steam room and sauna, cold plunge, hot tubs, and treatment yurts.

"The things we can do with 3D technology are completely revolutionary from a design perspective," hotelier Liz Lambert told Robb Report. "There's a beautiful organic quality to the material used to print the homes that gives the sense that they have arisen magically from the earth beneath them. They are unlike anything I've ever seen and, I'm really proud of what we've created."

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