Researchers at the University of Maine think they have a solution for the United States’. Using one of the world’s , the university’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) recently created the first . Many people have struggled to find a way to 3D-print homes at scale. Most solutions to date have used concrete, clay or traditional building methods such as wood framing. The ASCC’s “BioHome3D” is different.
The center’s 600-square-foot prototype features 3D-printed floors, walls and a roof made of sustainably-sourced wood fibers and biological resins. The house is also fully recyclable and doesn’t require weeks- and months-worth of on-site construction time to assemble. The center assembled the BioHome3D after 3D-printing four modules. It took only half an hour. The house was wired for electricity by one electrician in two hours.
ASCC suggests that BioHome3D could address the US’s housing crisis by reducing labor and materials required to build affordable houses. In Maine alone, there’s a growing shortage of about 20,000 housing units across the state.
It’s worth noting the US housing shortage predates the pandemic and the supply chain issues that came with it. Senior Fellow at, says current housing issues can be traced back the restrictive laws that residents use to prevent new houses being built in their neighborhood. Put another way, it’s better to look at the housing crisis as a policy issue, not a technological one.
That’s not to say technology doesn’t have a role to play in improving housing. The carbon footprint of cement, which is the main ingredient in concrete, is enormous. Global production of cement contributed to approximately 5% of global greenhouse emissions in 2018, which is more than the entire airline industry. It could make a huge difference in the environment if concrete is completely or partially eliminated from homebuilding.
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