Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is constructing its first 3D-printed home in Tempe, Arizona. The custom, single-story home—currently under construction on a lot owned by the city of Tempe—combines 3D printing and traditional construction to create a scalable, cost-effective solution to address the affordable housing crisis facing communities nationwide.
“This is really a moon-shot opportunity for Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona,” says Jason Barlow, president and CEO of Habitat Central Arizona. “When we consider the housing issues facing Arizona, the need for affordable homeownership solutions becomes clear. If we can deliver decent, affordable, more energy-efficient homes at less cost, in less time, and with less waste, we think that could be a real game-changer.”
The home will include three bedrooms, two baths, and 1,738 square feet of livable space. It is expected to be completed in August or September, with the potential to be occupied as early as October. Income-qualified homeowners are currently being identified through Habitat Central Arizona’s standard application process.
An estimated 70% to 80% of the home will be 3D printed, including all internal and external walls, by Germany-based PERI. The company shipped its 3D printer to the U.S. in March, transported it to Arizona in April, and printing began in Tempe in May.
“Our PERI 3D construction printing team is incredibly proud to print this home in Tempe for Habitat for Humanity,” says Thomas Imbacher, managing director innovation and marketing of the PERI Group. “Since 2016, PERI has been working intensively on the development of 3D construction printing solutions for residential construction. In 2020, PERI realized the first ever 3D-printed house in Germany with a BOD2 printer, followed shortly afterwards by the largest 3D-printed apartment building in Europe to date. The 3D-printing project in Tempe is now continuing this success story in the U.S.”
PERI’s BOD2 printer is a gantry printer and the only second-generation construction printer on the market, says the company. The gantry system is configured from multiple 2.5-meter modules in length, width, and height.
According to PERI, the BOD2 works in three dimensions: The print head moves right and left along the X-axis, the X-axis moves forward and backward along the Y-axis, and the entire XY group moves up and down along the Z columns. Due to this gantry principle, the printer can move to any position within the structure, pulling up both inner and outer walls layer by layer.
The 3D-construction printer is certified to allow workers to remain in the print area during the printing process. As a result, manual work, such as laying empty conduits and connections, can be easily integrated into the printing process. Once the walls of a building are printed, the ceilings can be added using traditional construction methods.
In addition to the co-presenting sponsors, Cox and Lowe’s, many partners came together to make this happen, including Habitat for Humanity International, the city of Tempe, PERI, 3D Construction, Candelaria Design, and The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation.
“This kind of innovation does not happen without amazing partners, and we are extremely grateful to all of them,” continues Barlow. “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.”