This 3D prefabricated home builder says he can tackle housing crisis
The United States and California, in particular, are in the midst of a housing crisis. The US real estate market is short, says Freddie Mac 3.8 million households. The lack of affordable housing mainly feeds the housing shortage. As construction costs rise, home ownership is an elusive goal for many. Could more sustainable building practices, such as scaling 3D manufactured homes, help?
Although there has been considerable progress in green building practices, often these innovations are not adopted by developers. Meanwhile, climate change is causing flooding, sea level rise, severe storms and forest fires, and housing needs to be resilient in the face of these forces.
Concern for the environment and humanity inspired the creation of the 3D prefabricated house builder Mighty buildings. The company is embracing robotics, 3D printing, and automation to create modular homes in California. Mighty Buildings can print a floor, walls and ceiling in 24 hours while dramatically reducing the waste associated with new construction.
âThe housing crisis is big enough that there is no one-size-fits-all solution,â says Sam Ruben, sustainability director and co-founder of Mighty Buildings, in an interview with TriplePundit. âWe are talking about the need for billions of homes around the world. Our vision is to be a tool for the industry, mitigating the climate impacts of these additional homes. “
Why consider 3D prefabricated houses?
Building traditional homes generates three to five pounds of waste per square foot. One of the most impressive advantages of Mighty Building 3D prefabricated houses is the cutout of construction waste by 95 percent. This is a staggering figure considering that between 25 and 40 percent of the solid waste stream in the United States is related to the construction industry; only a small piece of it is recycled.
Mighty Buildings has the big picture in mind and has worked from the start with developers, planners and building departments to understand their needs and concerns. “We believe in disruption through collaboration â, explains Ruben. “We are excited to learn as we develop our technology. We work with UL, which is a world leader and has 100 years of experience. They are uniquely positioned to understand our technology. In fact, Mighty Buildings became the first company of its kind to be certified UL 3401 for 3D printing in construction.
All Mighty Building Models range between 350 and 1,440 square feet, but they plan to move into townhouses and the multi-family housing market soon. The smaller models work incredibly well with urban infill initiatives that reduce sprawl and conserve land. Small homes also require fewer resources to heat, cool and furnish, which promotes affordability.
the average size of new house in the United States has fallen since 2016. Ruben sees pent-up demand for small homes in California and believes it is vital to provide good-sized homes. Mighty Buildings produces a range of Accessory housing units (ADU) as a second home, office, apartment or in-laws. The single-family home line includes two to three bedrooms and ranges from 864 to 1,440 square feet.
Efficient, agile and secure
Mighty Buildings has transformed many aspects of its operations to eliminate many inefficiencies that plague the construction industry. In most homes, a variety of tradespeople have to work at the home, which often creates scheduling issues. There is also a shortage of qualified builders in many markets, which is fueling long lead times.
In contrast, Mighty Building’s panel structures meet California building codes and are fire resistant. Prefabricated 3D homes are built at the company’s Oakland, Calif. Plant using robotics and digitization. Creating homes in the factory allows for precision and quality control that is not possible on a traditional job site. This simplifies the process of building and issuing permits, significantly reduces working hours and the time required to acquire a new home. The modular houses are then delivered by truck and put in place by crane.
Assisted by $ 70 million in venture capital, Mighty Buildings plans to expand the capacity of its factory and build 300 homes next year (up to 1,000 per year in the future). The houses are suitable for various construction sites and consist of a silicate-free light stone material and steel components. This composition of the house presents an excellent opportunity to innovate and evolve towards a circular design, says Ruben.
âWe are looking to improve the formulation by reducing the polymer used, having more recycled content and using new technology like chemical recycling of ingredients to create a circular opportunity. And the chemical industry is shifting into high gear to understand what it means to be sustainable. Fiber reinforcement helps dematerialization and allows us to move to multi-family housing production and reduce the use of steel. “
A bold and climate-neutral future
The company has carried out a life cycle assessment and has set itself the goal of being carbon neutral by 2028 while minimizing the use of carbon offsets. Mighty Buildings also has the internal objective of being carbon negative by 2040 by having regenerative practices that reduce carbon in the atmosphere.
Mighty Buildings ultimately wants to turn to deep energy renovations to the existing building stock by installing 3D printed panels that secure the exterior of the house, creating minimal disruption for residents.
Ruben believes it is essential to resolve the housing crisis in a way that does not worsen the climate crisis. He also believes that homes should be created with sustainability in mind from the start. In addition, building net zero energy homes also reduces the pressure on power plants, some of which are coal-fired.
âIt’s a double crisis,â says Ruben. âThe climate crisis is having a significant impact on the housing stock due to forest fires, floods and sea level rise. Resilient housing is essential. “
Image Credit: Mighty Buildings /Facebook