One company’s solution to more affordable housing: 3D-printed homes
Pulaski, Virginia — April Stringfield always wanted to own a house, but she never imagined it would be 3D printed.
His home in Williamsburg, Virginia is Habitat for Humanity’s first owner-occupied 3D-printed home. She and her son moved into their home in December. Innovative structures are developed as a possible solution to the affordable housing crisis.
The three-bedroom house’s concrete walls were built in less than 30 hours by Iowa-based company Alquist 3D.
Company founder and CEO Zach Mannheimer says 3D printing cuts costs by up to 15% by reducing labor, materials and time. The goal, he said, is to revolutionize affordable housing.
Although there are concerns about the displacement of traditional construction jobs and some environmental impacts of this method, Mannheimer believes his technology has potential.
“People can’t afford a house. It’s the American dream – or rather it was the American dream. We have to get back to that. 3D printing technology is a way to do that,” said- he declared.
Alquist’s goal in building what would be the largest 3D printed community in the world is also to potentially revitalize the city and others like it in rural America. The company aims to build 200 3D-printed homes over the next three years, primarily in Southwest Virginia, with prices starting at $175,000.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there is nowhere in the United States where someone working full-time for minimum wage can even afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment, let alone buy a new house.
Mannheimer says the company is partnering with local and state governments to address this issue.
“These cities were once vibrant,” he said. “And these cities can wave their hands in the air and say, ‘Hey, our community is great, we want you to come here. But if you don’t have a home, none of that matters. So we are really trying to solve the problem at the root.
For Stringfield, laying the foundation for his home has been the accomplishment of a lifetime.
“And I still can’t believe it,” she said. “I cry sometimes. But I’m so happy to finally have a place of my own.”