Habitat for Humanity in partnership with Alquiste to build the 1,200 square foot home in Williamsburg, Virginia. 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, its 3D printed concrete houses are said to have a longer lifespan than traditional wood-frame structures. Concrete walls also resist tornadoes and hurricanes well and help lower homeowners’ energy bills because they provide better insulation than wood and drywall.
The single-family residence became April Stringfield’s home a few days before Christmas. Stringfield, who works at a nearby hotel and has a 13-year-old son, purchased the home through Habitat for Humanity’s Habitat for Homebuyers program, which enables people with low but stable incomes to ‘buy interest-free houses.
By the way, you would never guess that the house is 3D printed. Its walls are made of laminated concrete, giving the exterior an almost stucco-like textured appearance. (The Alquist site states that the interior and exterior finish of each home is up to the buyer, as the company is able to produce a smooth, stucco-like or “popcorn”-like 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, like its porch, appear to have been built using traditional methods, but the home comes with a personal 3D printer that allows Stringfield to print things like cabinet trim and knobs. , if she needed it in the future.
Prior to Stringfield’s move, the house was equipped with a Raspberry Pi-based monitoring system designed to maximize energy efficiency and comfort. Andrew McCoy, director of the Virginia Center for Housing Research 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 on the house once Stringfield and his son are installed.
“My son and I are very grateful,” Stringfield said upon receiving his new home. “I’ve always wanted to own a home. It’s like a dream come true.