Habitat for Humanity Is Using 3D Printing to Build Affordable Houses


Habitat for Humanity has launched an initiative last year to incorporate 3D printing into its construction process to cut costs.

Located in Williamsburg, Virginia, the house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and the 3D printed portion of it—that is, the exterior walls—took just 28 hours to build. “Build” in this case meant a 3D printer moved along a track in the shape of the house, putting down one layer after another of a cement mixture.

According to Janet Green, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg, the house cost 15 percent less to build than wood-frame houses, and construction took just three months from start to finish (that includes putting in windows, hooking up electricity and plumbing, installing appliances, etc.).

Habitat for Humanity uses volunteer labor and some donated items to keep its construction costs low; the average building cost of its homes is around $110,000. The houses are sold at no profit with a zero-interest mortgage. Buyers must make 45 to 80 percent of the median income of the area their home is located in, have excellent credit, and put in 300 volunteer hours, whether by taking part in their own home’s construction or working at a Habitat for Humanity resale store. The Williamsburg home was purchased by a single mother with one son.

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