Innovative Housing Showcase 2019
HUD Secretary Ben Carson arrived to deliver the opening address for the Innovative Housing Showcase in a 3D-Printed Utility Vehicle provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The Innovative Housing Showcase, held June 1–5 in Washington, DC, highlighted innovative technologies that create affordable and resilient housing to help address the nation’s housing challenges. Secretary Carson, the driving force behind the showcase, delivered the opening address and was on hand throughout the event. HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), Office of Public Affairs, and Office of the Chief Procurement Officer organized the showcase in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders. Exhibitors from around the country gathered on the National Mall to build prototypes of affordable homes, and thousands attended the event.
The prototype homes on display were high quality and built with exacting craftsmanship. The homes shared an abundance of space and modern amenities such as stainless- steel appliances and wall-mounted televisions. The homes’ state-of-the-art technologies allowed the builders to construct them in a fraction of the time that a traditional wood-framed home would require. One innovation showcased was trenchless construction, subsurface construction that requires little to no continuous trenches and offers minimal disruption to businesses and traffic. The technology is intended for repairing or constructing new underground infrastructure, such as tunnels for utilities.
From mobile homes and manufactured homes to containers fitted for housing, the exhibitors displayed their years of experience in the field of affordable, innovative construction. Boxabl, an exhibitor and provider of post disaster housing innovations, used construction methods that included green building and cleanup as well as advanced wood-free building materials resistant to rot, water, mold, and many forms of insect damage. Ducky Johnson, another exhibitor, also specializes in disaster relief construction, elevated housing, and historic preservation. Other exhibitors included Prescient, indieDwell, Build us H.O.P.E., Cavco, and UMH Properties.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory provided the 3D-Printed Utility Vehicle (PUV), in which Secretary Carson arrived. The 3D PUV is a natural gas-powered hybrid electric vehicle that can supply power to a 210-square-foot home in the absence of sunlight. The printing technology is described as an additive method of construction, in which objects are built in layers, rather than a subtractive method such as turning, milling, or sawing. This technology can be used to print objects such as shoes, jewelry, and even aerospace parts.
Senior-level speakers discussed how the federal government is championing many of the innovations witnessed at the event. Some of those speakers included Acting Deputy Secretary Brian D. Montgomery, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue, General Deputy Assistant Secretary Todd Richardson, and numerous other representatives from the public and private sectors.
The Innovative Housing Showcase was a new endeavor for HUD, and the agency hopes to host another showcase next year. Coupling affordable housing with modern resiliency technology seems to be a way forward for the housing industry. Michael Blanford and Dana Bres of PD&R’s Affordable Housing and Research Technology Division were the linchpins of the event, coordinating with the exhibitors and bringing a wealth of knowledge to the showcase. In addition, three exhibitors — Build us H.O.P.E., Cavco, and indieDwell — decided to donate their entry ramps to local service providers for homeless veterans.