One billion people on Earth lack access to adequate housing — but that could change if ICON and New Story are successful. They’ve found a way to 3D-print 600 to 800-square-foot houses for $4,000 in under one day — and they recently unveiled “the first permitted, 3D-printed home in America.”
Austin, Texas can now claim the United States’ first permitted 3D-printed house. To build the house, ICON developed a mobile 3D printer called the Vulcan, which is designed to operate in conditions where power isn’t reliable and potable water isn’t readily available – like rural El Salvador or Haiti.
3D-printing offers several advantages over traditional building methods, ICON co-founder Jason Ballard said in a statement: “With 3D-printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability. This isn’t 10 percent better, it’s 10 times better.”
New Story utilizes locally sourced materials for dwellings today, and they plan to do the same with 3D-printed houses, which will be comprised of a mortar. The charity works with local workers, and they say that traditional building methods provide around four jobs for each house. They did say the printer will probably lower that number “but local labor will still be required for aspects of communities.”
How long will the homes last? New Story said “as long or longer than standard Concrete Masonry Unit built homes.” They plan to keep homes simple to minimize maintenance costs.
New Story said that they’ll print the first community in El Salvador, with other locations to follow after. They’re currently raising money to fund 100 homes and the next phase of research and development – you can donate to the initiative on their website. The first family could move into their 3D-printed house in the second or third quarter of 2019.