14Trees, a LafargeHolcim joint venture with CDC Group, the UK’s publicly owned impact investor, is deploying 3D printing technology at scale to build affordable and low-carbon housing and schools in Africa, starting in Malawi. With its record speed of construction and optimised material use, this technology reduces the carbon footprint for building new homes by up to 70%. Pioneering this technology in schools for the first time, 14Trees aims to address the country’s chronic infrastructure shortage while creating skilled local jobs.
Using proprietary LafargeHolcim ink, this innovative 3D printing process will significantly reduce the time and cost of building housing and schools in Malawi. UNICEF estimates a shortage of 36,000 classrooms in Malawi which would take 70 years to build using conventional methods. According to 14Trees, this infrastructure gap could be bridged in just ten years using 3D printing. Partnering with a range of NGOs, 14Trees is committed to solving this chronic shortage at scale, starting with families and communities most in need.
These projects will sustain skilled job creation with the hiring and development of local experts from 3D machine operators to material specialists working hand in hand with local builders for carpentry, roofing and painting.
The walls of 14Trees’ first prototype house were built in Lilongwe in just 12 hours, compared to almost 4 days using conventional methods. The walls of its first school, built in Salima, were printed in just 18 hours, as opposed to several days.