Innovation That Matters

The housing unit can be created in a fraction of the time with a fraction of the workforce compared to a traditionally-built home | Photo source The University of Maine - Advanced Structures and Composite Center (ASCC)

A 100 per cent bio-based and recyclable 3D-printed home 

Architecture & Design

The design uses locally sourced wood fibre feedstock as the printing material

Spotted: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that the world reached an all-time high for CO2 emissions from building operations in 2021. And far from being a blip, the agency’s analysis shows that the buildings and construction sectors are “not on track to achieve decarbonisation by 2050.” Alongside that challenge is an ongoing affordable housing crisis affecting many countries. 3D printing has the potential to help transform the housing industry, but the current lack of scale in production and use hampers improvements.

One organisation seeking to change that is the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composite Center (ASCC). The Center recently unveiled a prototype that aims to solve the challenge of speed and sustainability in the 3D-printed home market. ASCC’s BioHome3D prototype uses recycled forest products as the base material for floors, walls, and the roof.

The 182 square metre home uses wood for insulation, and due to the precision of the printing process, produces almost no manufacturing waste. The home was printed by the world’s largest polymer 3D printer in four parts that were then assembled on site.

Part of the Center’s development plans includes training a workforce that will be able to cope with significant volumes of production of such homes. For now, the prototype is being monitored during the winter of 2022 and into 2023 for hardiness in cold weather, and general thermal and structural performance.

Increasingly, the construction industry is looking at ways of becoming more sustainable in their processes. Other housing innovations recently spotted by Springwise include a carbon negative construction company, and carbon neutral concrete blocks.

Written By: Keely Khoury




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