My house got slammed with two feet of snow in the last 24 hours. Last summer, part of our garage roof flew off during an intense wind storm. Every spring, my basement floods. But as inconvenienced as I may feel about annual patch jobs thanks to Mother Nature, my “shabby chic” house is still safe (although I’m sure Joanna Gaines might suggest some upgrades of the shiplap variety).
But for one billion of the world’s families living in poverty, my house would be considered the lap of luxury. And one Silicon Valley-based nonprofit organization is trying to change that — one house at a time.
The nonprofit organization New Story has teamed up with ICON, a construction technologies company, to tackle the humanitarian housing shortage. Together, they’ve come up with the brilliant solution to build houses with a 3-D printer. That’s right, they are printing actual houses.
The final cost? Well, right now they are $4,000 a pop, but they want to drop that already impressive cost even lower.
New Story doesn’t just want to make affordable housing, though. Their main goal is to “democratize” the technology so governments and nonprofit organizations can purchase the printer itself for $100,000. Currently in its infancy, this technology is very expensive, but New Story is working to change that, too.
While some companies are in development stages to create 3-D houses for U.S. consumers at a much higher price point, Hagler and his team are looking to house the world’s most vulnerable.
The massive 3-D printer creating these $4,000 four-room homes is called the Vulcan. The special printer has been intentionally designed to take a beating, since it must travel to some of the world’s harshest environments. The Vulcan is fitted to a track and sprays out mortar in one long continuous stream, like a tube of toothpaste. Since these homes don’t have any of the holes that exist with stick-built homes, air and water leaks are not an issue, making these houses safe shelter.
Perhaps most noteworthy, is the fact that the homes can be printed in 12 to 24 hours. Can you imagine how helpful that would be in places where natural disasters level entire towns? My husband has been “renovating” our bathroom for more than two years now — 12 to 24 hours for an entire house sounds like a damn miracle!
New Story is raising funds with a matching program up to $1 million to complete plans to build 100 homes in El Salvador and to tweak the Vulcan design in an effort to make and distribute more printers to build more homes.
While they are starting with El Salvador, New Story has plans to expand to other countries in the future. Currently, the printer technology is estimated to create 1,000 homes per printer, but with development, donations, and more time, that could change.
A million bucks doesn’t seem like a huge price when you consider New Story’s ambitious goal “to help power anyone building homes for the poor — governments and non-profits alike — to do their best work.”
h/t: Fast Company