By Andy Corbley
Jan 1, 2022
When April Stringfield took the keys to her new 3 bedroom house in Virginia, a special bit of history was made.
The new home for April and her 13-year old son is the first one constructed by Habitat for Humanity on the East Coast using 3D printing.
With lumber prices high, Habitat for Humanity saved an estimated 15% per square foot compared to their normal building costs.
The 1,200 square-foot house featuring 2 full bathrooms uses concrete, which retains temperature better than wood, and will save on heating and cooling costs. It’s also more resistant to tornado and hurricane damage.
A concrete-constructed home is also the same type April fondly remembers that her great-grandmother owned—and she’s excited to carry on the tradition.
Amazingly the entire skeleton was built in just 12 hours, shaving off around 4 weeks of building time, using the printer machinery of a Virginia company called Alquist.
There is even a miniature 3D printer that comes with the house that could reprint parts like light switch covers, if she needs a repair.
Many people think Habitat gives homes away, but they actually sell homes to families with low to moderate incomes, issuing a no-interest, 20 or 30-year mortgage that the new home-owners then pay off monthly.
The Habitat Homebuyer Program becomes available to people who volunteer more than 300 hours of service, and who make 45-80% of an area’s median income.
April, who has been employed full time for five years at a nearby hotel, logged her 300 sweat equity hours, and some were spent actually helping the crew on the construction site that would become her first home.
The addition of solar panels and a smart home system based on proprietary technology from Virginia Tech will ensure April and her son enjoy low energy costs while still maintaining comfort.
“I can’t imagine a better Christmas gift,” she said at the ribbon cutting ceremony on the front porch. There was even a tree decorated in the living room.