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Virginia mom and son move into the first-ever 3D printed Habitat for Humanity house in the US

Four days before Christmas, April Stringfield and her 13-year-old son moved into their new home in Virginia. And it’s not just another house—it’s the first-ever 3D printed home in the country by Habitat for Humanity!

On December 21, 2021, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the national milestone. The home, which has three bedrooms and two full baths, is located in a subdivision in Williamsburg.

Although it was a chilly morning, numerous individuals showed up to celebrate the joyous event with the family.

Attendees included Habitat for Humanity International representatives, volunteers, supporters, elected and public officials, media, and local businesses.

The innovative house used concrete instead of lumber to print the exterior walls.

“My son and I are so thankful,” April said during her speech as she wiped away tears of joy. “I always wanted to be a homeowner. It’s a dream come true.”

To qualify for the Habitat Homebuyer Program, April logged 300 volunteer hours, aka sweat equity, one of the requirements asked of homebuyers. She spent a portion of those hours helping the crew on the construction site, while the others were recorded at the Williamsburg Habitat ReStore.

April, who has been working full-time for five years at a hotel, will pay the no-interest mortgage back to the local Habitat affiliate. The funds will be used to build future homes for qualified families.

Janet V. Green, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg, stressed that Habitat doesn’t give homes away.

“We sell homes to families with low to moderate incomes,” she explained in a news release.

Habitat homebuyers must meet several criteria to qualify for the program. They should have income between 45-80% of the area median income, the ability to pay for their new Habitat home, and a good credit standing.

Habitat homeowners can pay for their mortgage at zero interest for 20 up to 30 years.

Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg collaborated with Alquist, a 3D printing company, to begin the construction of the home in July.

It took the crew only 28 hours to print the 1,200 square foot home—saving them roughly four weeks of construction time for a regular house.

Alquist used concrete for the walls and saved approximately 15% per square foot in building costs. The good thing about using concrete is that it retains temperature better, allowing the homeowner to save on heating and cooling costs. It’s also more resistant to natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

The 3D printed home will be equipped with solar panels after April and her son move in, ensuring that the family will enjoy low utility bills without sacrificing comfort.

“What you see…is four years of blood, sweat and tears of figuring out how to make this happen,” said Zachary Mannheimer, Founder and CEO of Alquist. “Virginia is the leader in 3D printing home construction, hands down.”

Alquist places a 3D printer in the kitchen of every house it builds. April will receive a downloadable computer file which she can use to print everything from light switch covers to cabinet knobs and other replaceable parts.

“I’m excited to make new memories in Williamsburg and especially in a house, a home,” April told WTKR. “Some place I can call home and give my son that backyard that he can play in and also for my puppy to run around the yard.”

While this is Habitat for Humanity’s first 3D home in the US, it certainly won’t be the last.

“We would love to build more with this technology, especially because it’s got that long-term savings for the homeowners,” Green said.

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