Start-up fights housing crisis by using recycled plastic to 3D-print thousands of tiny homes
What a brilliant idea.
D.G. Sciortino

What if you could solve the plastic problem and affordable housing problem at the same time?

Azure Printed Homes, a Los Angeles-based startup, might have a solution.

Their 3-D printed accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are built using recycled plastic and fiberglass and are 30 percent cheaper to build than “traditional construction methods.”

They can also be built 70 percent faster. Azure offers the backyard studio dwelling,” which can also serve as a home office, studio, gaming room, workout room, or recording studio.

The studio unit is 120 sq. ft. and will run you $24,000.

They also offer a studio bedroom, one bedroom, or two bedroom accessory dwelling units complete with their own bathroom and kitchen.

Some even have their own laundry room and utility closet. These could be used as rented apartments or guest houses.

Azure’s 3D printed living spaces range in price from $39,000 for a 180 sq. ft. space to $199,000 for a 900 sq. ft. space.

“They can add and take away as much glass or solid wall as they choose,” Azure co-founder Ross Maguire told Spectrum News 1. “They can add windows, doors where they choose.”

The units are currently on preorder as the company ramps up production.

About 60 percent of the printing material used to create the house is a waterproof plastic polymer similar to the ones that come from plastic bottles or food packaging.

They hope to use post-consumer plastic in the future. It isn’t clear whether they are currently generating new plastic

“Our supply chain should never be short in our lifetime,” Maguire told Yahoo Finance.

Concrete is typically used in the 3-D home printing process, but Azure says their methods are cheaper and better for the environment.

“The construction sector is the largest global consumer of raw materials, responsible for approximately 11 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. Our responsibility to our customers and to future generations is to use the most sustainable practices imaginable,” Maguire said, according to Gizmodo. ““We have created production efficiencies not only by capitalising on the advances in 3D printing but by creating a design and process that is completed in only 20 hours.”

Each Azure home is installed over a built foundation and has hookups for utilities.

“When compared with conventional construction, we produce the entire structural skeleton, the exterior sheathing, the water control barrier, the exterior finish, the passageways for utilities, and the grounding for interior finishes, in a fraction of the time and cost. By revolutionising a new age of home building with our sustainable, automated and exact production processes, we see a very, very exciting future ahead,” Maguire said.

Customers can order and customize their homes on Azure’s websites.

It can arrive within two weeks almost 99 percent completed.

“3D printing is a more efficient way of building and it should only get better as we develop the processes, technology, and materials further,” Maguire said. “I can only see it becoming more and more prominent in [construction] as we move forward.”

Learn more about Azure’s ADU homes below.

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By D.G. Sciortino
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D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at [email protected]