Affordable and eco-friendly housing? It may sound too good to be true, but as time goes on, there are more and more options available when it comes to eco-friendly and affordable homes. This particular eco-house was actually 3D printed using a natural mixture of mud, rice husks and straw to create a small, efficient home. They call this a zero-kilometre structure because they are able to use materials that are readily available to them in their own community. Even though cob building and earth homes go back thousands of years, these days, there are new applications of this ancient building technique. Combining the ancient techniques of earth building and modern 3D printing is a wonderful idea for the future of affordable housing. This means that these homes will be able to be built easily and quickly as needed which can help people in times of crisis or poverty. So how does it all work? An Italian company WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) created a 3D printer that’s able to create structures using mud. The most recent project is called Gaia, and it was made using their infinity 3D printer called the Crane Wasp.
The Crane Wasp has been created to print buildings using materials right from the building site. The machine is 21.6 feet in diameter by 9.8 feet in height, and it’s very easy to assemble and disassemble. So it can be brought into a site easily and then set up to create the building, then taken apart when the building is finished. More than one of the Crane Wasp machines can be set up to build larger scale projects, or o build entire villages of tiny houses. Could this change the way buildings are built? Not only are the buildings easy to set up, but they also incorporate passive solar heating and cooling systems which keep the homes warm and cool, but it helps the home be more efficient. This will make for lower utility bills and less energy use which is great for the environment. The small eco-house you see here was a demonstration to show how the home could be built easily by the Crane Wasp. Amazingly enough, the project took only 10 days and cost only $1,035 which was spent on the windows, doors, insulation, fixtures and protective coatings. Wasp worked with RiceHouse which is an organization that collects the waste from rice cultivation. They created a compound that consists of 25% soil which includes clay, silt and sand, then 40% straw from rice, 25% from rice husk, and 10% lime. All of the ingredients are mixed together to create a mud which is then added to the machine to be used for the 3D printing.
In the future, the company is planning to build an entirely 3D printed technological village called Shamballa which will be in Massa Lombarda, Italy. The village will be completely self-sufficient with a circular economy and homegrown food and homemade products. Eventually, that project would develop into their Maker Economy Starter Kit. The applications of the new technology mixed with the old building materials are endless. Schools, libraries, office buildings, stores, and more could be built using the 3D printer which would make for a bunch of sustainable buildings and a more eco-friendly world. It could be possible for people to rent or buy their own 3D printers to build these buildings as well as create their own furniture and household items. The options are endless for this excellent idea, and it could help us in minimizing the use of dwindling resources which would create a more affordable solution for everyone.