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Mighty Buildings, an Oakland, CA company, is building the first U.S. housing development of entirely 3D-printed houses that will form a net-zero energy neighborhood.
In its factory, the company begins with a steel frame into which it prints panels of stone-like composite that have high insulation values. Traces for plumbing and electric wiring are created by leaving voids through the panels.
The panels for flooring, walls, and roof are shipped to the construction site and bolted together on a slab or foundation.
Unlike stick-built construction, the panel method leaves no wood scraps, unused pieces of sheetrock, or other waste.
The new development, in Rancho Mirage, CA, will include 15 homes roofed with solar panels that are intended to provide all of the houses’ energy needs. Buyers can add a Tesla Powerwall or similar battery to store electricity on cloudy days – a rare event in a locale that averages 13 overcast days and four inches of rain annually.
TRENDPOST: The Rancho Mirage development is pricey, but it proves the point that 3D-printed dwellings can be made, stored, and shipped efficiently and quickly. Communities of printed homes assembled on-site can serve as emergency shelters after natural disasters but also as alternatives for homebuyers in times and locations where lumber is both scarce and costly.
Printed houses are unlikely to replace conventional wood and steel construction in the near future but will take a solid niche share of the housing market after 2030.

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