Habitat for Humanity partnered with Alkyst to build the 1,200-square-foot home in Williamsburg, VA. Alquist, a large-scale 3D printing company, aims to make homeownership more accessible to all demographics using advanced and environmentally friendly construction techniques. Not only does the company’s strategy reduce construction time, but its 3D-printed concrete houses are said to have a longer life expectancy than traditional wood-frame structures. Concrete walls also hold up well against tornadoes and hurricanes and help reduce homeowners’ energy bills by offering better insulation than wood and drywall.
The single-family residence became April Stringfield’s home just days before Christmas. Stringfield, who works at a nearby hotel and has a 13-year-old son, bought the home through Habitat for Humanity’s Home Buyers Program, which allows people with lower but stable incomes to buy houses without interest.
Passing by, you would never guess that the house is 3D printed. Its walls are made of layered concrete, which gives the exterior a textured look almost like stucco. (The Alquist site says that the interior and exterior finish of each home is up to the buyer, as the company can produce a smooth, stucco-like or “popcorn” finish.) The team was able to print the house in 12 hours, reducing construction time by several weeks. Some of the home’s decorative features, such as the front porch, appear to have been built using traditional methods, but the home comes with a personal 3D printer that allows Stringfield to print items such as trim and cabinet knobs, in case those are. need in the future.
Before Stringfield’s move, the home was outfitted with a Raspberry Pi-based monitoring system designed to maximize energy efficiency and convenience. Andrew McCoy, Director of the Virginia Housing Research Center and Associate Director of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech, worked with Alquist on this long-term project. The monitoring system will track and maintain indoor environment data, enabling a handful of smart building applications designed to lower Stringfield’s energy bills. Compatible solar panels will also be installed in the house once Stringfield and his son have been installed.
“My son and I are very grateful,” said Stringfield upon welcoming her new home. “I always wanted to be a homeowner. It’s like a dream come true “.