Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A 3D-Printed Home is Coming to Williamsburg

A rendering of the blueprint for a 3D home that is planned to be built in Williamsburg, thanks to a partnership between Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg (Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg)

WILLIAMSBURG — Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg has announced that it has partnered with Alquist, a 3D-printed home construction company, to build a 3D-printed home in Williamsburg.

The partnership was formed in order to address the lack of affordable housing currently experienced in the United States.

This will be the first time that a 3D-printed home will be constructed on the East Coast. This past spring, another home began construction in Tempe, Ariz., with Aquist beginning construction on the interior and exterior walls later this month.

“As we continue our mission to build more affordable homes for the communities that need them most, Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg is the perfect partner bringing our shared vision to life,” said Zachary Mannheimer, founder and CEO of Alquist. “Using 3D-printing allows us to speed up the construction of a home while also lowering building costs, solving two housing challenges at once: the rising price of new homes and the speed at which they’re built.”

The company uses concrete in order to construct the 3D-print homes. A release from Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg states that this saves approximately 15 percent per square foot in building costs.

Additionally, concrete leads to long-term savings and safety for the home’s resident as it retains temperature and is resistant to possible tornado and hurricane damage.

Each home built by Alquist is equipped with Virginia Tech’s Raspberry Pi-based monitoring system. This allows for monitoring the home’s indoor environment, security, emergency management while optimizing energy consumption while analyzing the home’s residents’ comfort and space utilization.

The home is estimated to be around 1,200 square feet and will include three bedrooms, two full baths. It will also be EarthCraft certified, which is a voluntary green building program that provides a standard for healthy, comfortable homes while reducing utility bills and minimizing the home’s environmental impact.

The build will be a cooperative effort between volunteers, house sponsors, and the buyers of the home. The buyers provide what Habitat for Humanity calls, “sweat equity,” by participating in at least 300 hours of work either towards their impending home or the home of another family.

Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg has announced that, upon the home’s completion, the home will be sold to a local resident whose name is April (last name not released) and her family. April works as the supervisor of an area hotel’s laundry facilities but her income is less than 80 percent below the median income in the Historic Triangle. As a result, she faced challenges in being able to save enough money to own a home.

“Going forward, her monthly mortgage payments will be no more than 30 percent of her income, including her real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance,” said Janet V. Green, CEO for Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg. “Once the house construction is complete, she will close on her new home with a local attorney and repay her no-interest mortgage to us here at the local Habitat, illustrating Habitat for Humanity’s objective to give families a hand up rather than a hand out.”

In light of the pandemic and other contributing factors, there is a shortage of affordable housing in the United States. Bidding wars are occurring across the country, pricing many families out of homeownership. Additionally, the skyrocketing cost of lumber, in which the National Association of Home Builders estimates to be around a 300 percent increase since April 2020, have increased the average price of a single family home by nearly $36,000. Habitat for Humanity stated in the release that this puts new homes out of the purchasing range for more than 5.5 million families.

“We’ve seen firsthand how Habitat for Humanity’s housing program provides an enhanced quality of life for families,” Green said. “We are so excited to be constructing a 3D home for this family and help them achieve their dream of homeownership.”

Alquist lists its future 3D-printed home projects to occur in rural communities that include North Carolina, Arkansas, California, North Dakota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and several others.

Click through the gallery below to see some of the renderings of the new 3D-printed home


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