Mighty Buildings Embarks on Climate-Resilient, Affordable Housing Project in Bay Point


3D printed building design
3D printed building design [Source: Mighty Buildings]

Mighty Buildings announced a large project to 3D print a series of climate-resistant low cost homes.

The company has partnered with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and others on the project, which is sponsored by a US$5M grant from the California Energy Commission. The goal of the project is to develop and deploy a number of low cost, “near zero carbon” modular townhouse-style homes in the Bay Point area near San Francisco.

The newly built homes will be delivered through Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that helps those without resources to obtain a home through “sweat equity” and community volunteers. On this project, however, I suspect the sweat equity is a bit less because the homes are being printed offsite, rather than assembled from parts as traditional homes would be constructed.

Mighty Buildings is well-equipped to undertake this project, thanks to their location in California. Their approach is to rapidly 3D print many parts of the building at their premises, equipped with the necessary utilities and features. The finished modules are then transported to the site and placed into their final positions using cranes.

Anticipations suggest that the speed and capabilities of Mighty Building’s technology could result in a 20-30% increase in home production.

The homes are geared to include various low-energy features, which will likely benefit from LBNL’s expertise. One such feature is the innovative “cool room” concept. Mighty Buildings elaborates:

“The homes will feature a high-efficiency, mini-split heat pump system, powered by solar PV and a small battery. Coupled with a super-efficient design and equipment, the ‘cool rooms’ are specially engineered to reduce peak loads. They do so by operating at low power during times of severe grid stress, redistributing the peak load from a single concentrated peak timeframe in the evening to multiple diffuse peak timeframes throughout the day. The ultimate goal is to enhance resilience during events such as power outages and extreme temperature occurrences, whilst ensuring more predictable billing cycles and a 10-year lower total cost of ownership.”

There is an aim to achieve a reduction of total cost of ownership by 25% over the course of ten years. It is predicted that the utility costs for these homes will be at least 40% less, and this reduction could be even more significant when applied to multi-family dwelling units.

Notably, this project is of significant interest due to the currently unfolding housing crisis. Many families are rendered homeless, as housing costs now surpass many people’s capability to pay. A contributing factor to the high cost of homes is the shortage of them, which drives the prices up for the available ones. By quickly provisioning affordable homes, the housing supply could increase, and this, when achieved at scale, might just start to lower overall housing costs.

This may or may not be achievable, but it is a worthy attempt.

Found on Mighty Buildings

Original source


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