3D-Printed California Community Shows The Technology’s Huge Potential For Home Construction
Every technology has multiple phases of innovation. 3D-printing technology has been evolving at a very quick pace – champions have been using it recently to print everything from airplane engines to custom shoes.
Now, Mighty Buildings is using 3D-printing to build an entire community of homes in Palm Springs, California. The community will be composed of 15 homes that all have advanced environmental and technological features.
Mighty Buildings has partnered with Palari Group, a sustainable real estate developer based in California, to use zero waste construction processes on a development of 15 zero net energy capable homes.
“The world needs a better way to build that can not only unlock efficiency and productivity to solve the housing crisis, but do so in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the climate crisis in the process,” said Sam Ruben, the chief sustainability officer at Mighty Buildings. “I think that 3D-printing is one of, if not the, most promising technologies on the market to achieve this, especially non-concrete based systems like ours.”
The project’s focus on sustainability includes features such as solar power, battery storage, advanced climate control and water filtration systems.
“The Mighty Buildings technology exceeds the California code requirements in terms of energy efficiency, which combined with our ability to deliver units for up to 40% less than comparable quality homes built traditionally allows for the incorporation of battery storage and onsite renewables to allow for zero net energy homes that are cost competitive with non-zero net energy stick-built homes,” Ruben added.
Each property includes a three-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,450-square-foot home on a 10,000-square-foot lot with a swimming pool and deck for $595,000. A few properties also will feature an add on 700-square-foot accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, with two bedrooms and a bathroom for $850,000.
Palari and Mighty Buildings are targeting sustainability- and technology-minded millennials who are in the market for vacation homes or investment properties, or who just plan to work from home. Interest is also coming from local retirees who want wellness features and who are downsizing into smaller, more efficient homes.
With that being said, the homes come equipped with wellness features including circadian lighting and high-tech Darwin wellness systems by New York-based Delos. Buyers can also choose from upgrades such as a pergola, cabana, hot tub, fire pit and outdoor shower.
Amazingly enough, all of that is happening today. Yet, there is so much more to expect from 3D-printing in the housing industry.
“We see 3D-printing expanding in use cases and continuing to gain traction on the market,” Ruben said. “In the past year we have already seen a significant increase in the number of 3D-printed projects across the world, something that will only continue to accelerate as more and more developers and builders lean into the potential of the technology.”
Mighty Buildings was founded in August 2017, and since then the realm of 3D-printing technology has accelerated. In those three and a half years, the company has successfully delivered the first housing with 3D-printed components certified by the State of California, received the first UL certification for a 3D-printed building component, helped to get 3D-printing into the 2021 International Residential Code update, and also is moving forward with the world’s first 3D-printed zero net energy community.
The Rancho Mirage project will use the new Mighty Kit System, which the company says is a modern adaptation of the Sears Kit Homes of the 1930s. The kit system is then used to create Mighty Houses that were developed in partnership with California modern architecture firm EYRC Architects and global engineering firm Buro Happold.
“We are looking forward to opening up the platform to additional designs and customization in the next few years,” Ruben said. “Additionally, we are excited to move into multi-story projects, hopefully starting in 2022, with our new fiber reinforced printing technology. This not only opens up greater design opportunities for single family homes and ADUs, but will allow us to step into multifamily housing via townhomes and low-rise apartment buildings.”
The technology opens up opportunities to automate the most dangerous and difficult portions of the build in order to allow the existing labor force to build more, while also attracting a new generation of workers to the industry.
With scale, Mighty Buildings predicts many more opportunities to capture additional savings. At the same time, the company continues to develop new materials and technology to meet sustainability goals of carbon neutrality by 2028.