Habitat for Humanity builds its first 3D-printed home in the U.S.

Groundbreaking project in Tempe, Arizona, seeks to provide scalable and sustainable solution to acute affordable housing shortage

TEMPE, Arizona (June 9, 2021) – Leading the charge toward an innovative and sustainable way to increase affordable housing, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is building the global housing nonprofit’s first 3D-printed home in the United States.

Construction of the home, which began in May, combines 3D-printing using a Build on Demand Printer (BOD 2) shipped from Germany-based PERI Group, and traditional methods to create a pioneering model for the future.

“While we have found success in building small 3D-printed homes abroad, at 1,700 square feet, this home represents Habitat’s entry into new, innovative space. It is the first of its kind in the U.S. and sets the stage for increased capacity through a solution that could be both sustainable and cost-effective,” said Adrienne Goolsby, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada at Habitat for Humanity International. “We’re proud of Habitat Central Arizona’s research and progress using this new technology, and will continue to assess its potential to be scaled and more widely adopted so that we can further address the critical issue of home affordability in the U.S.”

blueprint sketch of a 3D-printed home.

At 1,738 square feet of livable space, the custom, single-family home will feature three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and overlook Clark Park, a center of activity with its community garden, ballfield, playground and recreation center. Approximately 70-80% of the home will be 3D printed, including all the internal and external walls; the remainder will be built using traditional construction methods. The home will be solar ready once construction is completed; Habitat Central Arizona is also pursuing LEED Platinum certification and IBHS FORTIFIED Home designation.

The cost of labor, lumber and other construction materials were already on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has only worsened the problem. Long term, a 3D-printed home solution could help address this challenge. Using the printer would also help Habitat Central Arizona to build during its hottest season, a time when building typically slows since temperatures are too extreme and would put staff and volunteers at risk.  

“When we consider the housing issues facing Arizona, the need for affordable homeownership solutions is clear,” said Jason Barlow, president and CEO of Habitat Central Arizona. “If we can deliver decent, affordable, more energy-efficient homes at less cost, in less time and with less waste, we think this can be a real game-changer.”

The home is expected to be completed in the early fall, and could be occupied as soon as October 2021.

Partners including the City of Tempe, Lowe’s, COX Communications, PERI, Candelaria Designs and others contributed substantial financial and in-kind donations to make the project happen.

“This kind of innovation does not happen without amazing partners and we are extremely grateful to all of them,” Barlow said. “Bringing people together is central to our mission and in this case, we’re bringing together new partners in the form of engineers, architects, developers and others looking for a breakthrough in the affordable housing space.”

About Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona
Since 1985, with the help of generous donors and volunteers, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona has been privileged to build more than 1,170 homes, affect more than 2,500 repairs and improve a place called home for more than 3,800 Arizona families. Learn more: habitatcaz.org/3D or find us on Twitter @habitatcaz.

About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in south Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.