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Golden Age Technology

3D Printing: An Affordable and Sustainable Housing Solution, Part 1 of 2

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With the world facing a housing shortage, 3D printing is not only speeding up the automation of construction, but also reducing costs. In our two-part series we’ll learn how companies are using this technology to build functional, affordable homes.

Sam Ruben, the co-founder and chief sustainability officer of Mighty Buildings, says, “With 3D printing, we're able to print exactly what we need; it’s effectively zero-waste construction, meaning we're eliminating the three to five pounds per square foot that goes to landfills in a traditional build, which adds up to about two to three tons of carbon per unit.”

14Trees is also behind a 3D-printed school project in Salima, central Malawi. Children in this area have started their education at the new 3D-printed school which was built in just 15 hours using a computer-controlled nozzle that layered the concrete; the school can accommodate 50 students. According to UNICEF’s estimate, Malawi is short of 36,000 primary school classrooms. Mr. Perrot estimates that by using 3D-printing technology Malawi could close this gap in ten years, which otherwise would take 70 years using conventional methods.

Earlier this year, Mario Cucinella Architects and 3D-printing specialists of WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) collaborated to build the first eco-sustainable 3D-printed house using clay. The house is named Tecla and is located in Massa Lombarda, Italy. With an area of about 60 square meters, it is comprised of a living zone with a kitchen, a night zone that includes services, and a circular skylight on its roof. The Italian architects have combined ancient building techniques with modern technologies to form recyclable, low-carbon, climate-adaptable housing.

3D-printed houses made of recycled materials are not only an affordable housing solution but also a great way to protect our environment. We hope that 3D-printed buildings will soon be developed in many more areas of the world.
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