3D Printed Homes: The Future of Affordable Housing?

by: The Knowledge Group

March 20, 2018


3D printing technology offers a lot of potential in a wide range of areas. The potential for 3D printing to help solve the problem of homelessness, though, is something that few would have predicted.

New Story and Icon – the former non-profit that builds housing in the developing world and the latter a construction firm – have teamed up to use 3D printing technology to create housing that is both highly affordable and genuinely enjoyable to live in. The two companies were able to build a single-story, 380-square foot home using just  $10,000 worth of material. What’s even more shocking is the fact that the home only took 48 hours to build.

New Story and Icon aren’t stopping there, though. Their eventual goal is to raise the size of the home to 650-square foot while also bringing the cost down significantly and reducing the time it takes to build the home to 12-24 hours. Later in 2018, the two companies plan to head to El Salvador to start building test homes. By 2019, their goal is to have built a 100 house community in El Salvador.

These houses, however, will not be a handout. Alex Le Roux, chief executive of Icon, explained that the El Salvador families have agreed to a 10-year, no-interest, no-profit mortgage to pay for the homes. This comes out to about $30 a month. Given that the average monthly wage in rural El Salvador is about $360, these houses could be one of the first quality housing options that is cheap enough for the average, rural El Salvadorian to afford.

It’s estimated that more than 1 billion people across the world do not have access to reliable shelter. If Icon and New Story are indeed able to build quality homes in less than a day using just a few thousand dollars worth of material, though, this statistic could be on the verge of changing in a big way.

With this technology potentially entering uncharted waters, you can stay informed and earn continuing education credits with our library of live and on-demand webcasts. Feel free to browse our extensive library by clicking here.