In today’s news, we will look into the first concrete house in the United States that has many levels and is constructed in 3d robotic brutalism. On the other hand, for the fifth consecutive month, the number of newly constructed homes in the United States decreased in January. In addition, American builders are currently engaged in the construction of 25 GW of solar. On top of that, US Space Command has partnered with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to increase workforce and new expansion building.
Robotic Brutalism: America’s First Multi-Level 3D Concrete House
A team of imaginative contractors, ingenuity, and a smart architect built the first multi-story 3D concrete printed home in the U.S.
A quiet Houston neighborhood had a vacant corner lot. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, an idea was brewing that would change the block’s appearance for decades and maybe the U.S. concrete building industry.
Late summer 2022 saw this property revived after years of planning, permitting, and community outreach. A groundbreaking concrete home would shortly be built. A gantry followed. Local cement mixes arrived in large bags. A robotic 3D concrete printer placed the first multi story concrete structure in the U.S. behind safety walls.
HANNAH, PERI 3D Construction, and CIVE collaborated to print a two-story single-family home with bespoke architecture and a durable structural system.
The 4,000-square-foot project demonstrates 3D printing, mass customization, and design solutions that integrate conventional construction systems. The structure uses 3D printing and wood frame. Multifamily and mixed-use projects leverage its scalable design and construction approach. The project’s modular design uses the COBOD BOD2 gantry printer.
COBOD BOD2 isn’t new. This machine prints schools and little residences worldwide. The business calls the printer a “modular truss construction.” Houston’s multi-story mansion employed 30-foot-tall, 45-foot-wide equipment. They recommend 3–4 operators for printing:
printer, materials, materials operator helper, and hands-on helper.
A two-year collaboration between boundary-pushing design researchers and industrial partners produced the project. HANNAH leaders Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic, assistant professors at Cornell University’s Department of Architecture, Art, and Planning, lead the project with PERI 3D Construction, a global leader in 3D construction printing, and CIVE, a Houston engineering and design/build contractor.
Lok and Zivkovic say their hybrid construction method combines concrete 3D printing with wood framing to create a structurally efficient, easily repeatable, and materially responsible building system. The project shows the great design potential of mass-customized architectural components to fit homeowner needs and facilitate building system integration. “These design initiatives aim to expand the impact, applicability, sustainability, and cost efficiency of 3D printing for future U.S. residential and multi-family structures,” they continue.
3D printing is a team specialty. HANNAH’s forward-thinking architectural design firm created upstate New York’s Ashen Cabin. The sustainable Ashen Cabin promotes 3D printing concrete and robotic timber construction.
After this, they dubbed 3D concrete printer style “robotic brutalism.”
PERI 3D Construction has pioneered building construction with 3D printing. PERI has completed six projects in Europe and the U.S. using COBOD BOD2 printers, including Germany’s first 3D-printed home and Europe’s largest apartment building.
CIVE creates a streamlined workflow by combining structural engineering and construction skills.
The Houston home was PERI 3D Construction’s sixth and largest project, according to CEO Fabian Meyre-Broetz. Adding, “We are very proud to not only display the possibilities of the BOD2 3D construction printer but also our significant know-how in planning, engineering, and printing on this project. We believe it will set new design and printing standards and reinforce our reputation as the pioneer of this new building technique.”
Construction material and HVAC system partners created precise solutions for the project. Quikrete’s latest printable concrete calibrated printing settings. Huntsman Building Solutions and their R&D team installed a closed-cell foam insulation system. Simpson Strong-Tie anchors wood and 3D-printed pieces in the hybrid structure.
For efficient HVAC, modern variable refrigerant flow technology will be installed.
“Being the engineers and general contractor for the first multi storey 3D printed structure in the U.S. was an honor,” says CIVE President Hachem Domloj. “We can see how this technology and our team’s approach is enabling broader commercial ventures. We’re altering how our country builds, making housing more affordable, structurally sound, and faster.
3D printing is limitless!”
January saw the fifth consecutive drop in US new house development
Despite lower mortgage rates and inflation, American home building declined for the fifth straight month in January.
January housing starts declined 4.5% from December. According to Thursday Census Bureau data, that’s down 21.4% from last year. January starts dropped from 1.37 million to 1.31 million.
In May and July last year, rising mortgage rates drove homebuyers away, lowering housing starts. Starts rose in August but have fallen since.
Single-family dwelling starts fell 4.3% in January.
Since November, borrowing rates have fallen, giving builders hope for 2023. Inflation concerns and variable mortgage rates continue after a monster employment report and inflation that isn’t dropping as rapidly as most would want.
Construction permits, which reflect the amount of new housing units given permits, gained 0.1% in January from the revised December rate but fell 27.3% from a year earlier. Building permits reached 1.339 million in January.
Builders cautiously optimistic despite “bad” conditions
According to Navy Federal Credit Union corporate economist Robert Frick, mortgage rates were nearly double a year ago, slowing the home development sector.
“The future for home construction turned a bit bleaker this month as data on inflation, jobs, and retail sales predict the Federal Reserve may boost its federal funds rate more than expected a month ago,” he added. A rising fed funds rate could raise mortgage rates, which have dropped to approximately 6% from 7% in November.
But, new building builders are more optimistic.
A National Association of House Builders study showed two consecutive months of increased builder confidence, which bodes well for the housing market in 2023.
“Conditions are still regarded ‘poor’ generally, but the improvement implies that builders are feeling cautiously optimistic,” said First American deputy chief economist Odeta Kushi.
Kushi says housing completions are as crucial as beginnings and permits.
According to the Census Bureau, new construction dwelling completions rose 1% from the previous month and 12.8% from a year earlier to 1.406 million in January. At 1.04 million, January single-family home completions rose 4.4% from December.
“Given the long-term housing scarcity, more new homes are good, but more completed homes are better,” added Kushi.
American solar developers are building 25 GW
Original Source: US developers actively building 25 GW of solar
Energy transition is underway with 25 GW of solar under development and 107 GW of US grid capacity.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly capacity addition data illustrates that the energy shift is occurring. US projects under construction total 25.4 GW. This adds to the EIA’s 107.5 GW of US grid solar.
EIA forecasts 39.5 GW of small-scale solar projects of 1 MW or less and almost 68 GW of utility-scale plants. The latest EIA data shows 366 utility-scale projects under construction in the US. Projects average 69 MW. 166 projects, adding 10.2 GW, are 50% complete or more.
Primergy, a Quinbrook Infrastructure firm, is building Gemini Solar, the largest project. Nevada will gain 690 Megawatts from this project. The next seven largest Texas projects average 405 Megawatts.
Texas dominates utility-scale solar project construction, with 28 projects totaling 6.7 GW with an average project size of 240 MW. State’s biggest project is 500 MW.
Florida is advancing utility-scale project construction. 68 projects, averaging 73.4 MW, are installing just under 5 GW. Florida projects are consistent, with 65 ranging from 74 MW to 75 MW in capacity.
California follows with 3.2 GW of dispersed projects. EIA reports 45 projects with 75 MW average nameplate capacity. State’s biggest project is 300 MW.
1.96 GW of projects nationwide are ready for commercial operation but need final permissions. 48 projects average 41 MW. Eight of these projects are 1 MW solar installations in Minnesota, a leading community solar market.
70% of US high-probability utility-scale power capacity planned through 2025 is solar energy.
Solar’s development as a vital energy resource now seems inevitable, but it wasn’t always. The EIA started reporting annual net generation of PV in 2014, when the technology produced minimal power. Solar supplied 27 TWh to the U.S. grid that year. In 2021, it generated 164 TWh, six times the generation of seven years earlier.
Industrial strategy, economies of scale, technology advancements, and corporate innovations have enabled this success. As climate change threatens, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) has plummeted, and solar and energy storage become more attractive.
Project construction is likely to accelerate. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 requires a 40% carbon emission reduction by 2030 and $370 billion for renewable energy and climate policies. Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Evolved Energy Research, and Carbon Impact Consulting produced a Rapid Energy Policy Evaluation and Analysis Toolkit (REPEAT) to assess the law’s effects.
The American solar business may suffer greatly. According to the Princeton analysis, utility-scale solar deployment might increase from 10 GW per year in 2020 to 49 GW per year in 2024. Princeton predicted 100 GW solar deployment by 2030.
Solar investment might reach $321 billion in 2030, nearly double the $177 billion predicted under present strategy. The research predicted $3.5 trillion in total capital investment in new US energy supply over the next decade from the IRA.
UCCS and US Space Command expand manpower and building
The agreement expands the aerospace engineering program, launching graduates into the industry.
The fifth US Space Command partner is UCCS.
U.S. Space Command’s fifth university partner is UCCS. The university is building a new engineering building. News5’s Lindsey Jensen explains how it affects kids and the collaboration.
The College of Engineering and Applied Science Associate Dean Micheal Corl, Ph.D., hopes to help them develop their workforce and research programs.
Fall 2022 introduced aerospace engineering. 35 students are enrolled. Fall 2023 will see a master’s program.
The new structure will add classrooms and research labs. Classes start in January 2024.
“It’s a growing sector and they don’t have the staff that they need,” said Corl.
An aerospace engineering minor intends to work in national missile defense.
“I think I would’ve gone for the Aviation major had it been a chance,” stated UCCS student Matt Terry.
He, a mechanical engineer, stated they went together.
“Mechanical engineering is a terrific way to branch out into other areas because as an engineer, you never stop learning and I think that’s pretty fascinating,” Terry said.
Summary of today’s construction news
Overall, we discussed the first multi-story 3D concrete printed home in the United States was produced by a team of creative contractors, creativity, and an astute architect. A vacant corner site stood out in an otherwise tranquil area of Houston. The residents of the block had no idea that a plan was in the works that would revolutionize the look of the area for decades and possibly revolutionize the concrete construction industry in the United States.
Meanwhile, construction of new homes in the United States fell for the sixth consecutive month in January, despite decreasing mortgage rates and inflation. Building permits issued in January were down 4.5% compared to December. Census numbers released on Thursday show a 21.4% decrease from the same time previous year. The number of new housing starts in January fell to 1.31 million, down from 1.37 million in December.
Furthermore, the United States is currently in the midst of an energy transformation, with 107 GW of grid capacity and 25 GW of solar in development. The monthly capacity addition data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that the energy transition is happening. The overall GW capacity of ongoing American projects is 25.4. This is in addition to the 107.5 GW of US grid solar power reported by the EIA.
Over and above that, UCCS is the fifth university to work with U.S. Space Command. A brand new engineering facility is now being constructed on campus. Aerospace engineering was first taught during the fall of 2022. Now, we have 35 students in the program. It is planned to launch a master’s degree program in the fall of 2023. There will be more study halls and laboratories in the new building. In January of 2024, classes will begin.