A revolutionary way of building homes is coming and could be a potential solution to building more affordable homes.
You may have heard of a 3D printer making small plastic items for furniture and doll models, but 3D printers can do life-size projects as well, including a 1,550 square foot house planned in South Richmond.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home at 217 Carnation St, just off Midlothian Turnpike, Virginia, USA, will be Virginia’s first home partially built using a 3D printer rather than wood . Work began this week and should be completed in the fall.
Building the exterior walls of the house using a giant printer is different from traditional building, but it’s easier to understand than you might think, said Andrew McCoy, director of the Virginia Center of Housing Research in Virginia. Tech, one of the project partners. to build the house.
“It’s really like we’re building a layered cake,” McCoy said of the process of building the walls using a 3D printing system that places concrete on top of each other.
“It’s layer after layer and just like a layer cake, you have to care about the consistency of each level,” he said. “You have to worry about how you’re going to finish it. You have to worry about making sure that there are all the ingredients, but the cooking is the essential part. “
Using 3D printing technology in house building is faster, cheaper and more durable than traditional construction, and it is more energy efficient once the house is built, experts say.
And because of these factors, the use of technology could provide a potential solution to the affordable housing problems plaguing the state, said Susan Dewey, CEO of Virginia Housing, the nonprofit housing finance agency. who provided grants for the 3D printing project. .
“One of the things we’re finding is a big hurdle right now is inventory,” Dewey said, noting a growing need for more affordable housing in the state. “It’s homeownership, it’s renting, and we have to think differently about housing. “
3D construction should be able to provide a more affordable way to build homes while reducing costs by at least US $ 10 per square foot compared to a house traditionally built with wood, according to Virginia Housing.
“The hope is that we can produce the house for between US $ 180,000 and US $ 190,000, and we can sell them for US $ 210,000 to US $ 220,000,” McCoy said.
Having a sale price in that range “is very affordable for this area, especially since you’ve seen prices escalate around the Richmond market,” said Chris Thompson, director of strategic housing for Virginia Housing.
The median selling price – with half of homes sold more and half as expensive – in the Richmond area in the first three months of 2021 was US $ 310,000, up 16% from a year ago one year, according to the Richmond Association of Realtors.
Selling more homes at a more affordable price is important in the Richmond area, where 66% of residents earn less than 30% of the area’s median income, which was US $ 86,400 for a family of four in 2019; yet these residents spent more than 50% of their income on housing in 2019, according to the Housing Affordability Partnership.
Greta Harris, CEO of Better Housing Coalition, a Richmond-based nonprofit affordable housing developer, said the Carnation Street house will likely be sold to someone earning between 75 and 80% of the median income households in the region.
The Better Housing Coalition, which is part of the 3D house project partnership, is raising funds to help the buyer with down payment assistance, she said. —AP