[Image above] Credit: Icon

We may tend to take the homes we live in for granted, but did you know that 1.2 billion people living in cities around the world don’t have access to secure housing? According to a 2017 report from the World Resources Institute, this number is predicted to grow to 1.6 billion by 2025.

Even Habitat for Humanity probably could not build enough houses to satisfy that critical need by then.

But one company has introduced a solution that involves 3-D printing and a little concrete.

Ok, a LOT of concrete.

Icon, an Austin, Texas-based construction company, is determined to solve the global housing problem. Its vision “to create sustainable building practices that make beautiful, quality homes accessible to everyone” sounds pretty interesting.

What’s more interesting is how they construct the homes.

The company introduced a 650-ft2 3-D-printed concrete house at SXSW in Austin last month. And it printed the house in less than 24 hours—which is probably less than the time it would have taken to lay the foundation on a conventional house.

According to an article on The Verge, the printer can create a 600–800-ft2 house for around $10,000, but Icon cofounder Jason Ballard says the company plans to lower costs to $4,000. The house has all the basic amenities—living room, bedroom, bathroom, and covered porch.

Ballard says that while other companies are already printing buildings, “they are printed in a warehouse, or they look like Yoda huts,” he says in The Verge article. “For this venture to succeed, they have to be the best houses.”

Concrete as a building material has many advantages, including durability, energy savings, environmental sustainability, and resistance to disaster, according to the Portland Cement Association. And while many concrete homes currently exist in the U.S. and around the world, Icon’s homes have a price point that the masses can afford.

The company is still testing and adjusting the materials and design. It has partnered with New Story, a charity that builds homes for the poor, to build a community of houses in El Salvador. Eventually Icon plans to build homes in the U.S.

Watch the video to learn more about Icon’s 3-D printed homes.

Credit: New Story; YouTube

And watch this CBS This Morning report that includes an interview with the project’s founders.

Credit: CBS This Morning; YouTube

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