CDC partners with Holcim to provide funding for 3D-printed affordable housing project in Kenya

06 Dec 2021

  • Advanced technology drives Africa’s delivery of affordable climate-smart housing
  • New development secures IFC-EDGE green buildings sustainable design certificate - creating resource-efficient and zero-carbon buildings at scale
  • The 52 house community in Kenya supports President Kenyatta’s “Big 4” agenda deliverable to increase affordable housing

Nairobi - 6 December 2021: A new neighbourhood in a Kenyan town is to spring into existence in record time thanks to a world-beating 3D printing technology.

It was announced today that Africa’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing project will be developed by 14Trees, a joint venture between Holcim and CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution. The 52 house Mvule Gardens project will be located in Kilifi town, north of Mombasa, in Kenya.

Earlier this year, 14Trees built the world's first 3D printed school in the Salima district of Malawi. The development followed the company's first 3D-printed prototype house in Lilongwe, Malawi – built with precision in less than 12 hours, which significantly reduces the four days spent building a home with conventional building practices.

Building on a track record of speed and progress, the new complex in Kenya underscores 14Trees' forward plan to support Africa's innovation in construction and further develop 3D printing technology across the continent.

This project was made possible by Holcim’s proprietary ink, TectorPrint, giving the walls structural function to bear the load of the building. The new technique reduces the environmental footprint by more than 50% compared to traditional processes and lowers CO2 emissions typical to standard methods of cement production.

Further, 14Trees identifies natural fibre components to strengthen best practices in 3D printing for construction in Africa and creates locally based skilled jobs in sustainability and 3D technology operations, among other areas.

The new 52 house community will be part of the Green Heart of Kenya regenerative ecosystem, a Kenyan model for inclusive and climate-resilient cities. The project is a testament to 14Trees’ high regard for sustainability and won the IFC-EDGE advanced sustainable design certification, recognising resource-efficient and zero-carbon buildings.

In addition, the purpose-built design by the United States – Africa based architectural practice, MASS Design Group, seeks to provide modern and replicable housing units adapted to the needs of underserved communities among lower-income households.  14Trees will begin construction of Mvule Gardens in the first quarter of 2022.

Jan Jenisch, CEO, Holcim: “We are excited to be building one of the world’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing projects in Kenya. With today’s rapid urbanization, over three billion people are expected to need affordable housing by 2030. This issue is most acute in Africa, with countries like Kenya already facing an estimated shortage of two million houses. By deploying 3D-printing, we can address this infrastructure gap at scale to increase living standards for all.”

The innovation is a valuable, rapid, and economical solution to the housing deficit in sub-Saharan Africa, which is estimated at 50 million units. Commenting on 14Trees ability to develop safe, well-located, and reliable homes for communities across Africa, Tenbite Ermias, Head of Africa and Africa Managing Director, CDC Group, said: "14 Trees is pioneering the use of leading-edge technology to address one of Africa's most pressing development needs - affordable housing - to create life-changing infrastructure for whole communities."

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About Holcim

Holcim builds progress for people and the planet. As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim is enabling greener cities, smarter infrastructure and improving living standards around the world. With sustainability at the core of its strategy Holcim is becoming a net zero company, with its people and communities at the heart of its success. The company is driving the circular economy as a world leader in recycling to build more with less. Holcim is the company behind some of the world’s most trusted brands in the building sector including ACC, Aggregate Industries, Ambuja Cement, Disensa, Firestone Building Products, Geocycle, Holcim and Lafarge. Holcim is 70,000 people around the world who are passionate about building progress for people and the planet through four business segments: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates and Solutions & Products.

More information is available on www.holcim.com

About CDC

CDC Group is the UK’s impact investor with over 70 years of experience of successfully supporting the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses in Asia and Africa. Under its new strategy, its geographical mandate will be expanded to include Indo-Pacific countries and the Caribbean. CDC will become British International Investment plc on 4 April 2022. The company is a leading player in the fight against climate change and has committed more than £700m of climate finance over the last four years. It plans to invest over GDP 3bn in climate finance between 2022 and 2026. CDC is also a founding member of the 2X challenge which has raised US$10bn to empower women’s economic development. The company has investments in over 1000 businesses in emerging economies and total assets of GDP 6.9bn. In 2020, CDC committed over GDP 1.1bn to businesses in Africa and Asia, and aims to invest up to GDP 1.3bn in 2021 – with a focus on driving inclusive growth, job creation and supporting economic recovery from COVID-19. CDC is funded by the UK government and is a champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. All proceeds from CDC’s investments are reinvested to improve the lives of millions of people in Asia and Africa. CDC’s expertise makes it an ideal partner for private investors looking to devote capital to making a measurable environmental and social impact in countries most in need of investment. 

Find out more at www.cdcgroup.com

About 14Trees

14Trees is a joint venture between Holcim and CDC Group which is focused on building affordable houses, schools and social infrastructures in Africa. It was set up with the aim to accelerate the production and commercialisation of environmentally-friendly, affordable construction solutions in Africa. 14Trees benefits from the expertise of Holcim’s R&D centre, the world’s leading building materials research centre, to accelerate the use of environmentally friendly solutions such as Holcim earth brick Durabric© and 3D printing.

For more information, go to www.14trees.com

Important disclaimer – forward-looking statements:

This document contains forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements do not constitute forecasts regarding results or any other performance indicator, but rather trends or targets, as the case may be, including with respect to plans, initiatives, events, products, solutions and services, their development and potential. Although Holcim believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions as at the time of publishing this document, investors are cautioned that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of Holcim, including but not limited to the risks described in Holcim's annual report available on its website (www.holcim.com) and uncertainties related to the market conditions and the implementation of our plans. Accordingly, we caution you against relying on forward-looking statements. Holcim does not undertake to provide updates of these forward-looking statements.

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