Virginia Family Buys First Habitat for Humanity 3D-Printed Home
Homeownership has been a longtime goal for April Stringfield. After years of hard work, the Virginia native and single mom finally realized her dream when she and her son moved into Habitat for Humanity's first completed 3D-printed home on December 21. A second 3D-printed home in Tempe, Arizona is slated to close in February 2022.
The 1,200-square-foot Williamsburg home was built through a partnership between Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg and 3D printing company Alquist. It is the first of many Habitat for Humanity homes slated to be built using 3D printing technology, and the first owner-occupied 3D-printed house in the world, according to Alquist founder and CEO Zachary Mannheimer.
The exterior walls of the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home are made of 3D-printed concrete. In total, it took 28 hours to print the home's exterior concrete walls, reducing the standard construction schedule by at least a month. In addition, the use of concrete over lumber saved an estimated 15% per square foot in building costs.
April purchased the home through the Habitat Homebuyer Program. Through the program, she will pay a zero-interest 20- to 30-year mortgage via monthly payments that do not exceed 30% of her monthly income. Though she's worked full-time as a laundry facility supervisor at a local hotel for the past five years, April's income is still less than 80% of the area median income. To qualify to purchase the home, she had to demonstrate her ability to pay fo the home and log more than 300 volunteer hours at her home's construction site, as well as at the Habitat ReStore in Williamsburg.
Though she didn't know much about 3D printing before working with Habitat, April said she has enjoyed the process of contributing to the finished product.
"They don't just give it to you," she said of Habitat in an interview with the organization. "You have to help others. You have to help yourself. [I spent] a lot of hours at the ReStore, a lot of hours at the construction site. Through that, you get to learn how everything is done, how your house is built. It's a great experience; you just have to put in the work."
After an emotional ribbon cutting where Habitat for Humanity representatives, elected and public officials, volunteers, and supporters all stood by to see April receive the keys to her new home, the Stringfields are now busy turning their 3D-printed house into home. One of the first orders of business: lemons in the kitchen.
"You squeeze a lemon, you can always make lemonade," April said. "My home is my lemonade."