A digital rendering of the 3D-printed home, which includes a covered front porch, a kitchen island, a laundry room and smart home sensors designed to increase sustainability. Photo provided by Alquist.

3D-printed homes: How Virginia Housing is solving the equitable housing crisis

The home of the future is being built right here in Richmond – and it isn’t made of bricks or wood.

Virginia Housing, a nonprofit that helps Virginians attain affordable housing, announced that it has awarded a $500,000 grant to the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) at Virginia Tech for a 3D modular construction printer, which will print exterior concrete walls for the first 3D-printed home in Virginia. The 3D printer is from Denmark and is currently one of only two located in the United States.

“Virginia Housing is funding and leading this collaborative 3D-printed home with a team of housing experts and community partners,” said Susan Dewey, CEO of Virginia Housing.

The organization will work directly with Alquist, a 3D printing construction firm, and RMT Construction and Development Group, to design and construct the home.

“These two cutting-edge organizations – Virginia Housing and the Virginia Center for Housing Research – are breaking barriers and finding new ways to serve their community, and we’re honored to be working hand in-hand with them,” said Zachary Mannheimer, founder and CEO of Alquist.

A digital rendering of the 3D printer from Alquist, which will be used to help construct the 3D-printed home.
Photo provided by Alquist.

Two local housing nonprofits, project: HOMES and the Better Housing Coalition, will coordinate permitting, zoning and insurance and also will identify a future Richmond homeowner who will have the opportunity to receive a mortgage through Virginia Housing for the property.

“Project: HOMES is proud to be a part of bringing innovative solutions to affordable housing challenges in the Richmond region,” said Lee Householder, CEO of project: HOMES.

Once completed, the 3D-printed home will total 1,550 square feet and feature three bedrooms, two bathrooms and other amenities including a kitchen island, laundry room and a covered front porch. The home was designed with sustainability in mind and is expected to be 50% more energy efficient than standard construction code requirements. Smart home sensors provided by VCHR will monitor indoor environmental data, including temperature, sound, lighting and smoke to ensure safety.

Alquist estimates that future 3D-printed homes will save up to 10% in overall construction costs, or around $10 per square foot. These homes will list for approximately $210,000, though the sale price of the Richmond prototype may be slightly higher.

The home, located at 217 Carnation St. in Richmond, off Midlothian Turnpike and Chippenham Parkway, is expected to be completed in October. It may be the first 3-D printed home in Virginia, but Virginia Housing is ensuring that it won’t be the last.

“In August, we’re going to be building five or six homes in a subdivision in Exmore on the Eastern Shore,” said Chris Thompson, director of strategic housing at Virginia Housing. The organization is teaming with New Roads Community Development Group, a local housing nonprofit, to develop 3D-printed homes ranging from 500 to 1,300 square feet based on the affordability needs of residents.

If you are interested in following the construction process, you can follow Virginia Housing on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

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