Habitat for Humanity builds its first 3D-printed home in the U.S.

Habitat for Humanity builds its first 3D-printed home in the U.S.


Leading the charge toward an innovative and sustainable way to increase affordable housing, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is building the global housing nonprofit’s first 3D-printed home in the United States.

Construction of the home, which began in May, combines 3D-printing using a Build on Demand Printer (BOD 2) shipped from Germany-based PERI Group, and traditional methods to create a pioneering model for the future.

“While we have found success in building small 3D-printed homes abroad, at 1,700 square feet, this home represents Habitat’s entry into new, innovative space. It is the first of its kind in the U.S. and sets the stage for increased capacity through a solution that could be both sustainable and cost-effective,” said Adrienne Goolsby, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada at Habitat for Humanity International. “We’re proud of Habitat Central Arizona’s research and progress using this new technology, and will continue to assess its potential to be scaled and more widely adopted so that we can further address the critical issue of home affordability in the U.S.”

At 1,738 square feet of livable space, the custom, single-family home will feature three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and overlook Clark Park, a center of activity with its community garden, ballfield, playground and recreation center. Approximately 70-80% of the home will be 3D printed, including all the internal and external walls; the remainder will be built using traditional construction methods. The home will be solar ready once construction is completed; Habitat Central Arizona is also pursuing LEED Platinum certification and IBHS FORTIFIED Home designation.

The cost of labor, lumber and other construction materials were already on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has only worsened the problem. Long term, a 3D-printed home solution could help address this challenge. Using the printer would also help Habitat Central Arizona to build during its hottest season, a time when building typically slows since temperatures are too extreme and would put staff and volunteers at risk.

“When we consider the housing issues facing Arizona, the need for affordable homeownership solutions is clear,” said Jason Barlow, president and CEO of Habitat Central Arizona. “If we can deliver decent, affordable, more energy-efficient homes at less cost, in less time and with less waste, we think this can be a real game-changer.”

The home is expected to be completed in the early fall, and could be occupied as soon as October 2021.

Partners including the City of Tempe, Lowe’s, COX Communications, PERI, Candelaria Designs and others contributed substantial financial and in-kind donations to make the project happen.

“This kind of innovation does not happen without amazing partners and we are extremely grateful to all of them,” Barlow said. “Bringing people together is central to our mission and in this case, we’re bringing together new partners in the form of engineers, architects, developers and others looking for a breakthrough in the affordable housing space.”

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