Video | Vulnerable families will love a new 3D printed 'home safe home'

Video | Vulnerable families will love a new 3D printed 'home safe home'

Photos via ICON.

New 3D printing technology could transform efforts to combat homelessness with tiny homes created in less than 24 hours.

The first permitted, 3D-printed home created specifically for the developing world was unveiled in March in Austin, Texas. It was a joint project between New Story, a non-profit working to create a world where no human being lives in survival mode, and ICON, a construction technologies company focused using 3D printing to make significant advancements in affordability, building performance, sustainability and customizability.

The 3D-printed home serves as a proof-of-concept for sustainable homebuilding that will allow for safer, more affordable homes for more families, faster than ever. The printer, called the Vulcan, is designed to work under the constraints that are common in places like Haiti and rural El Salvador where power can be unpredictable, potable water is not a guarantee and technical assistance is sparse. It's designed to tackle housing shortages for vulnerable populations instead of building with profit motivation.

“We feel it’s our responsibility to challenge traditional methods and work toward ending homelessness. Linear methods will never reach the population of more than a billion people who need safe homes,” said Brett Hagler, CEO of New Story. “By working with ICON and leveraging their 3D printing innovations, we’re able to reach more families with the best possible shelter solutions, exponentially faster.”

3D printing bypasses many of the shortcomings of conventional construction methods.

“With 3D printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability," said Jason Ballard, co-founder of ICON. "This isn’t 10 percent better; it's 10 times better."

The portable printer is designed to function with near zero-waste and to work under unpredictable constraints (limited water, power, and labor infrastructure) to tackle housing shortages in underserved communities throughout the world.

New Story’s goal for this project is to print the first community of homes for underserved families in El Salvador in the coming 18 months, and then through partnerships, scale up production to serve additional communities over the next few years. Housing will feature cutting-edge materials tested to the most recognized standards of safety, comfort and resiliency.

"More than just New Story using the technology to reach more families, the hope is that this R&D project that will influence the sector as a whole," Hagler said. "Through the technology, the team will learn, iterate, and then share the technology with other nonprofits and governments to help everyone improve and reach families faster."

New Story is a non-profit working to create a world where no human lives in survival mode by providing one of life’s most basic needs – shelter. The organization currently works in Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia and, in just three years, has funded more than 1,400 homes for families in need. More than 850 of those homes have been built and families have moved in. Their model ensures that donations go to build homes while organizational overhead and R&D are covered by private donors, Hagler said.

Read more about pre-fab and systems built homes.

Topics: Building Green, Cost of Ownership, Foundations, Going Green, Home Design & Plans, Prefabricated Homes / Systems Built Homes / Modular Homes, Sustainability Trends & Statistics, Thermal Envelope

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