Today’s Solutions: January 19, 2022

Back in December, we wrote about a nonprofit called New Story that was building the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood for impoverished people in Mexico. Today, we present to you a startup that is taking 3D-printing to another level when it comes to homebuilding.

The startup, Mighty Buildings, is using a 20-foot-high printer inside a warehouse in Oakland that can print small homes in just 24 hours. While that’s about the same amount of time as the 3D-printed homes in Mexico, Mighty Buildings is using a different process that can print more elements of a house. The homes in Mexico use 3D printing only for the walls and floor, but the Oakland-based printer can also produce other elements like the roof and ceiling—saving both time and money. The startup says that by automating more of the construction process, it can make homes more affordable. Compared to an average house in California, the new homes cost as much as 45% less.

They’re also less expensive to build than other factory-built housing. Another advantage with Mighty Buildings is that they use a single material to build a wall, unlike a typical wall that uses a dozen materials. This helps to reduce waste and can help to make the home more energy efficient because the single-material walls reduce thermal leakage.

The company is making homes in a variety of sizes, ranging from a 350-square-foot studio (starting at $115,000, with permitting fees, foundation work, delivery, and other steps bringing the total as high as $223,000) to a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house. It’s focused at first on the market for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in California backyards, where it’s quicker to get permits and begin construction than on empty lots. You can read more about ADUs here if you’re interested.

The first homes they’re selling aren’t fully 3D printed—they have a traditional roof—but by next year the company plans to shift to fully 3-D printing each unit. In the future, they hope to use their technology to 3D-print affordable apartments.

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