Do you think 3D Homes are in the future?
A 3D printed home? How does that work? How is it built? Is it resilient? The answer to all of these is included below, we had a lot of questions too. 3D printing construction technology seems to have accelerated during the pandemic with the constricted labor market and the housing market in the US and the first 3D printed home was listed on the market in Long Island New York. This home had 1,500 square feet, 3 bedrooms, and 2 baths, and was listed at $299,000, well under half the cost of a pre-construction home in the area, and before it was even built, the foundations and plans got over 100 showings. These homes may well be a solution to housing shortages and affordability issues and this groundbreaking listing is just the first of many 3D printed communities planned in the US. We are happy to share what we know about 3D communities and where they are coming next!
Who are the Builders of 3D Homes?
The first home in New York is by developer SQ4D and its home was printed on a concrete yard, to be moved to a nearby lot. There are two other developers that are planning full-scale 3D developments, ICON Developers in Austin Texas, and Mighty Buildings, out of California. Each of these builders has a different price point, challenges by regulatory bodies for building, and concept that is driving their innovations and methods, leaving plenty of room for more and more competition.
Austin Texas, ICON Developer, has completed 4 single-family homes already in East Austin, a series of homes for the homeless in partnership with Mobile Loaves and Fishes, and a small development in Mexico. ICON is one of the front runners in 3D construction and printing technology, but Mighty Buildings is on the heels of ICON. Mighty Buildings, in California, is planning a much larger community of 15 homes, called Rancho Mirage. Each of these developments represents completely new methodologies in building and has the ability to change the construction industry as we know it.
What exactly is 3D Construction?
Currently, there are two available ways of 3D construction. ICON uses its’ Vulcan construction system, which prints proprietary concrete at a very high speed and with a greater level of precision, and at a very low cost. You can print the first floor and build the second floor conventionally to meet building codes and while is not what one imagines immediately when you think of a 3D printed home, this technique is 10-30% cheaper and months faster than conventional. Additional savings is realized through labor, as it requires much fewer laborers, and conventional materials such as lumber, steel, and aluminum. The printer does the bulk of the construction here and you are sacrificing little in terms of looks and quality.
While ICON is focused on producing savings realized in materials, labor, and time, Mighty Buildings in Califonia, is chiefly concerned with sustainability. Its’ newest community will offer 15 homes that seamlessly integrate technology and sustainability.According to Might Buildings, their printing production process eliminates 99% of construction waste and is 30-40% cheaper than traditional construction. In addition to using solar energy, Mighty Buildings prints a sort of composite polymer comparable to synthetic stone and is assembled and printed onsite. Unlike concrete, this polymer is thermal efficient and would yield net-zero carbon emission homes, meaning that there is no heat or cold transfer between inside and outside.
Both types of homes, polymer printed and concrete, are more energy-efficient than conventionally built homes and some recent proof of resilience lies in the ICON homes being a safe and warm haven during the recent Texas power outage, and resistance to earthquakes in Mexico. Polymer composite and concrete construction are both resistant to mold, termites, rot, and water. They are resistant to high winds and have yet to withstand hurricane testing, but that is next!
How soon will we see 3D Construction in the Triangle?
There is the demand for 3D printing homes up and down both the East and West Coasts. Both ICON and Mighty Buildings biggest problem is producing the printers to meet the demand. With labor in tight supply and the housing market similarly in tight supply, each has secured big funding from venture capitalists, and they cannot print homes or proposals fast enough. Do you think 3D homes should come to the Research Triangle? Please reach out and let us know your thoughts!
If you are looking to purchase pre-construction homes or custom homes in the Triangle Area, we would love to help. Call My NC Homes Today! 919-451-7868
Posted by Martha Greenlee on