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Habitat for Humanity in Virginia builds first-in-nation 3D-printed home; fast build, less cost, easier upkeep

Staff report

Habitat for Humanity has sold its first 3D-printed home. It took just 12 hours to print and is estimated to have saved 15 percent per square foot in building costs.

It’s an effort that could be adopted by Habitat for Humanity organizations in communities across America — saving time and materials costs to make the homes even more affordable.

Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg (Va.) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in December on this national milestone. A three-bedroom home with two full baths became the first-ever 3D-printed Habitat house in the country. It was purchased by April Stringfield, who has moved into her “dream home” with her 13-year-old son.

The 3D home in Williamsburg VA — first ever by Habitat for Humanity (captured from YouTube)

Habitat for Humanity partnered with Alquist 3D, a company that specializes in 3D-printing of homes. The crew printed the 1,200-square-foot home in just 12 hours, reducing the standard construction schedule by at least four weeks.

The concrete used in the home is estimated to have saved 15 percent per square foot in building costs. The materials are better at retaining temperatures, which can translate to savings on heating and cooling costs. It also could mean the home is more resistant to tornado and hurricane damage.

Stringfield purchased the 3D-printed home through the Habitat Homebuyer Program, which requires buyers to have an income between 45 to 80 percent of the area’s median income, excellent credit and the ability to pay for their new home. Habitat homes are not sold at a profit and come with a zero-interest 20-to-30-year mortgage.

“My son and I are so thankful. I always wanted to be a homeowner. It’s a dream come true,” Stringfield told local media.

In addition, Stringfield logged 300 “sweat hours,” known as volunteer hours, some of which were spent helping the crew on the construction site of her new home.

Stringfield will also receive a downloadable computer file that will allow her to print knobs, light switch covers and other replaceable parts for her home.

According to Alquist, 3D-printed homes can be custom designed and can last beyond a traditional wood structure home. The company also plans to introduce 3D-printed homes in Richmond, Va., as a study on the future of affordable housing.

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