Innovation That Matters

| Photo source ARCbuild

Could steel off-grid homes solve affordable housing?

Property & Construction

As well as being cheaper, the homes also only take 60-90 days to be built

Spotted: The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, highlighted that, in 2023, 1.6 billion people around the world lacked adequate housing and basic services. And that figure could rise to three billion by 2030. High construction costs, persistent labour shortages, and planning delays are all playing a part in the lack of sufficient, affordable homes, making it unlikely that any country will make up a significant amount of the shortfall.  

In North America, ARCbuild, which stands for Affordable Residential (or Resilient) Communities, is working to change that with its off-grid, prefabricated homes that cut the cost of a new build by 20 to 50 per cent

The company uses a suite of advanced sustainability measures to minimise the footprint of each structure as well as the entire construction process. Each home is completely off-grid and contains independent power and water supplies. Solar power and greywater recycling are integrated into the homes, which are so efficient that up to 40 per cent of the energy generated is excess and can be sold back to the grid. 

ARCbuild homes are net zero, and up to 85 per cent of the construction of each home takes place in the factory, reducing construction waste and on-site time by 50 per cent. Processes occur simultaneously, with the foundations and utilities being built while the frames are constructed in the factory. The steel fabrication and modularity of the homes make them resistant to hurricanes, other high-power winds, and fires. 

The company is currently working in Mexico and North America on more than 20 projects. 

Modular construction is a common method for innovators to cut home building construction costs, along with new and unusual materials to help reduce waste. Examples in Springwise’s Library include post-consumer plastic and cross-laminated timber being used for building materials.

Written By: Keely Khoury


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