There are countless people across the globe without adequate housing and despite all of the efforts being made by governments and non-profits, there's still a long way to go before housing can be secured for those in dire need of it. ICON, a startup based in Austin, demonstrated a low-priced 3D-printed home that's being presented as a potential solution to this global problem. Eventually, ICON hopes to reduce this construction cost to just $4,000.
For this venture, ICON is collaborating with New Story, a California-based non-profit that describes itself as a "non-profit working to create a world where no human being lives in survival mode". The home is similar in nature to the Apis Cor house and measures just 350 sq ft (32 sq m).
The spotlight on this breakthrough falls on ICON's proprietary 3D printer "Vulcan" that uses a unique mix of concrete that hardens as it is printed.
ICON displayed how it could construct a 650-square-foot house out of cement in one day at the annual film and innovation festival known as SXSW.
However, before these homes are built, ICON is planning to trial the model by 3D printing an office in Austin.
Further into the future, the team aims to raise funding and build its 3D-printed homes in El Salvador in the next 18 months.
ICON's zero energy, thermally efficient model features a living room, bathroom, bedroom, a study that could double as a second bedroom, and a wraparound porch. "I think if we were printing in plastic we would encounter some issues", explains co-founder of ICON, Jason Ballard. "There are a few other companies that have printed homes and structures", Ballard added.
Despite the fact that the hardware utilized as a part of 3D-printing is very exorbitant, notwithstanding, the materials can be cheap.
Since these structures need to be sturdy and hospitable, the companies aren't taking any risks and will be refining the process right up until they take it over to El Salvador.
Recently some Americans also have chosen to downsize into smaller homes but these also cost almost $40,000 and are only between 200 and 400-square-feet in size. He explains: "One of the big challenges is how are we going to create habitats in space... It's one of the more promising potential habitat technologies".