Family Moves Into This Organization's First 3D Printed Home

Receiving the keys just before Christmas is a dream come true.

Jan 2, 2022
Working on a Habitat for Humanity house.

(Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com)

Giving a family the keys to their new home is always an exciting event. Especially when it is a low- income family that is buying a home they helped build themselves. Sweat equity is an important part of the process for homes built by Habitat for Humanity.

For April Stringfield and her son, receiving the key to their Williamsburg, Virginia new home on December 21, 2021 was really something to celebrate, That’s because the new home is the organization’s first ever completed 3D printed home according to the local  chapter’s blog.

At the ribbon cutting, a tearful Stringfield addressed the local officials and important guests who attended this milestone  occasion saying, “My son and I are so thankful. I always wanted to be a homeowner. It’s a dream come true.”

The home was not a gift. Stringfield logged 300 sweat equity hours into the project on the building site and in the office of the organization. She will pay a no-interest mortgage to Habitat for Humanity that will allow more homes to be built for qualified families.

“Many people think Habitat gives homes away; we don’t,” Janet V. Green, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg  said in the blog. “We sell homes to families with low to moderate incomes.”

Habitat home buyers must be employed, earn between 45-80 percent of the median income, and have the ability to pay the mortgage. For many, this is the only path to home ownership. Moving into a home of your own for Christmas is the best gift of all.

About the home
The 1,200 square meter house has three bedrooms, two baths, and was 3-D printed in only 12 hours. That reduced the construction time by at least four weeks, according to CNN, and also saved on the construction costs.

The house was built out of concrete and not lumber. Concrete has many advantages over using wood for home construction including an ability to retain temperatures to reduce heating and cooling costs and it can withstand natural disasters like hurricanes or tornados.

Habitat for Humanity partnered with Alquist, a 3D printing company, to build this home. While technically not the first 3D printed, one in Tempe Arizona actually has that distinction, it is the first home that has been sold.

Alquist homes also include a 3D printer so the owner can reprint anything they need from electrical outlets to cabinet knobs or anything else they may need.

The home will also be outfitted with solar panels and a Raspberry Pi-based monitoring system from Virginia Tech that has smart home capabilities according to the blog.

What else is being built by 3D printers?
Homes are being 3D printed around the world and can be quite unique. In fact, a 3D printed floating home was constructed in Prague. But this is not a typical home because it is covered in plants. The Protozoon, as it is called, has other environmental features including a recirculated shower and water reservoirs for both clean and gray water.

Homes are not the only buildings constructed by 3D printers. Schools can be too. A school in the island nation of Madagascar was built in the spring of 2021. The design actually allows for school expansion in the future. This is a way to build schools faster, cheaper, and sustainably in developing nations.

With the shortened construction time, cost savings, and sustainable methods, the trend of building 3d homes looks like they are here to stay. While the Virginia home was a first for Habitat for Humanity, it will not be the last according to the organization.

“We would love to build more with this technology, especially because it's got that long-term savings for the homeowners,” Green told CNN. This will go a long way in making dreams come true for even more families.

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.