SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Eden Village, which provides free tiny homes for the chronically homeless in Springfield and Kansas City, Kansas, plans to expand its third village using 3D printing technology.
Nate Schlueter, chief visionary officer at Eden Village, said he hopes 3D printing will yield the expected cost savings. Two large-scale 3D printing machines were purchased by Eden Building Solutions, each costing around $1.6 million. Local contractors will finish the walls, flooring and other essential elements.
Eden Village 3 is at 2419 West High Street in the Tom Watkins neighborhood of Springfield. A total of 24 units will be constructed, consisting of 12 concrete duplexes.
Schlueter laments that the cost of building materials has risen markedly due to inflation and post-pandemic problems.
“We’re hoping we can build these concrete homes for about a 40% reduction, which would be about $100 per square foot with a roof, cabinets, flooring and everything,” Schlueter said.
In 2019, Eden Building Solutions started researching 3D-printed housing to expedite affordable home construction. Schlueter notes that certain for-profit groups have 3D printing machines, yet are not utilizing them for affordable housing.
Eden Village could be the pioneer in building 3D-printed homes for the homeless, according to Schlueter.
“We are laser-focused on the solution to ending homelessness – which is housing. I know we have over 200 people on a waiting list for housing that are chronically homeless. We live in a city with generational methamphetamine problems and generational poverty. All of that is a contributor.”
Construction of a test duplex was to begin Tuesday at an undisclosed site. Schlueter anticipates the 3D printing process for its test duplex will be completed in just 13 to 14 hours, though he says duplexes for Eden Village 3 won’t be built until spring due to concerns about winter weather and equipment relocation.
The organization partners with Drury University’s engineering and architecture students, storing its new 3D printing technology on campus.
“Hopefully next year, Drury is opening an engineering school. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to work with those engineering students and introduce them to the technology – and hopefully change their perceptions of homelessness and offer up interesting solutions to that.”
Eden Village has expanded its operations to include Kansas City, Kansas. Fox4 News reported in October that 23 homes were completed by the Three Dog Night nonprofit. The group also helps the homeless make fresh starts, and has set a goal to open the new village by spring 2024.