It could revolutionize living standards in underdeveloped nations.
THE GOOD NEWS:
Icon and New Story’s sustainable 3D-printed homebuilding will allow for safer, more affordable homes.
Some amazing new technology unveiled at SXSW this year could represent a quantum leap for homebuilding in the developing world.
Jason Ballard, the co-founder and president of Austin’s green home improvement store, TreeHouse, teamed up with NewStory to create a new a construction technologies company called Icon. The collaborative effort resulted in the development of the Vulcan, a 3D printer that creates concrete at a fraction of the cost of traditional building methods.
The Vulcan can print the layout of an up-to-code 350 square-foot home in just about 24 hours. After that, the conventionally made finishing touches like a roof, windows, doors, paint, and electrical are added to the frame.
This process can create a finished home in just two days.
“Conventional construction methods have many baked-in drawbacks and problems that we’ve taken for granted for so long that we forgot how to imagine any alternative,” said Ballard. “With 3D printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability. This isn’t 10% better — it’s 10 times better.”
The goal of Icon and New Story is to be able to make 600-800 square-foot homes in less than a day at the cost of $4,000 per home. Once that’s accomplished, the companies will begin construction on an entire community of 3D-printed homes in El Salvador.
Icon and New Story hope to reach this goal in about 18 months.