With the rise of housing costs in Canada it was encouraging to hear that a team of researchers from the University of Windsor have partnered with the local Habitat for Humanity to build the first 3D-printed residential homes in Canada. There is such a need for a more affordable and environmentally sustainable housing market and it is looking like 3D-printed homes may provide a solution for the future.
A team of engineering graduate students and laboratory technicians will be working alongside the team of researchers and will 3D print concrete segments on a large-scale, industrial printer in the university’s Structural Engineering Testing Lab — one of the largest and tallest in Canada — and test them exhaustively for strength, sustainability and durability to ensure they’re safe for residential use and meet residential building code requirements. The goal is to have the four homes built by April 2022 in Windsor-Essex.
How are 3D printed homes more cost efficient?
3D-printed homes cost significantly less to build than traditional homes. The amount of materials needed is undoubtedly less. Traditional concrete construction requires more materials. Panels, usually made of wood, are used to create enclosures into which concrete can be poured to form a mould. With 3D printing, the need for panels is eliminated because the concrete and composite mixture used is thicker than conventional concrete allowing it to be self supporting while it sets. Less materials means less cost. Not only materials, but labour costs can also be saved. These engineers and researchers working on this project are predicting that once construction processes are perfected, a house can be printed with as little as three people and that multiple homes can be printed within a few days.
How are 3D printed homes better for the environment?
3D-printed construction significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions generated by the construction industry. There is also less waste materials.
It will be interesting to see how this project turns out and how it affects the future of home construction across Canada.