New technologies could make homes more efficient and affordable

We still live in a world of wonders.

Next year, developers will innovate in Austin in a new neighborhood made up of 100 3D printed homes.

Lennar, the nation’s largest homebuilder, and Texas-based 3D printing specialist ICON, are the two companies behind the project. ICOn will use five 46-foot-wide 3D printers to create the structures, which will be made from a concrete mix called Lavacrete. The houses will be assembled on site using advanced robotic technology, with doors, windows and other details added by Lennar workers. The buildings will be powered by solar energy.

It will only take a week to build one of these houses. ICON says it can create a home as large as 3,000 square feet using current technology.

The developers say 3-D will be faster and cheaper to build because there is little construction waste and less manual labor required. They also claim that the homes will be more durable and energy efficient.

The potential here is staggering. The housing stock cannot keep up with demand and prices are skyrocketing, often excluding first-time homebuyers from the market. Not only could this technology help solve these problems, but it could also be used for a very basic shelter to house the homeless across the country, likely at a lower overall cost than current programs.

It’s not uncommon to see a big technological breakthrough and wonder what the real-world application would be. With 3D printed houses, it’s obvious. This technology will change lives for the better.

Print title: FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW / Practical Wonder: New Technology Could Make Homes More Efficient and Affordable

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About Dianne Stinson

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