Mighty Buildings, a specialist in 3D printing construction technology, along with partners led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), announced that they have been awarded a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission. The funding will support the partners’ work to develop, test and demonstrate low-cost, modular homes.
The plan is to build three advanced, low-carbon townhouses in Bay Point, California. These will be manufactured using Mighty Buildings’ innovative 3D printing technology and assembled on site within a few days. There is a particular focus on the affordability, sustainability and resilience of these homes.
A core element of the project is the “Cool Room” concept: by combining solar energy, a small battery storage system, efficient design and high-performance mini-split heat pump systems, the homes will save energy while offering greater resilience to power outages and extreme temperatures.
In addition, the project plans to introduce new methods of offsite 3D printing and energy-efficient components. Advanced testing equipment for structural and watertightness testing will also be used to speed up innovation and certification cycles.
Another important aspect is LBNL’s development of an energy and general manufacturing cost model based on the manufacturing inputs from Mighty Buildings. This model could find wider application in the prefabricated, modular and panelized construction industry in the future.
In collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, a training program will be launched to train workers in panelized prefabricated construction.
The total cost of ownership (TCO) over 10 years is expected to be 25% lower than comparable homes, paving the way for more affordable and resilient modular housing in underserved communities.
“We are thrilled to embark on this groundbreaking project. Our collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Habitat for Humanity reflects our commitment to innovation, sustainability, and our community,” said Scott Gebicke, CEO of Mighty Buildings. “The support provided by this grant goes beyond building three townhomes; it’s actively shaping the future of construction in California. We envision a future where affordable, resilient, and energy-efficient homes are the standard, not an exception.”
The rapid construction of the houses should enable developers to build 20-30% more housing units, while the estimated savings in operating costs could be up to 40%.
The partners plan to further develop their strategy and bring in new partners, with production planned for 2024. This project represents a significant step towards more sustainable and efficient construction and could have a lasting impact on the future of housing.