First ever 100 percent bio-based 3D-printed home unveiled

The new type of home could address housing shortages.
Loukia Papadopoulos

On Monday, the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) unveiled the first 3D-printed house made entirely out of bio-based materials called BioHome3D, according to a press release by the institution.

Fully recyclable and highly insulated

The new structure consists of a 600-square-foot prototype featuring 3D-printed floors and walls as well as a roof made of wood fibers and bio-resins. The house is fully recyclable and highly insulated and its development produced a limited amount of waste due to the precision of the printing process. 

“Our state is facing the perfect storm of a housing crisis and labor shortage, but the University of Maine is stepping up once again to show that we can address these serious challenges with trademark Maine ingenuity,” said Gov. Janet Mills. 

“With its innovative BioHome3D, UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center is thinking creatively about how we can tackle our housing shortage, strengthen our forest products industry, and deliver people a safe place to live so they can contribute to our economy. While there is still more to be done, today’s development is a positive step forward — one that I was proud to support through my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan and my budget. I extend my congratulations and thanks to the University of Maine and its partners, and I look forward to continuing to tackle these problems with innovative solutions.”

The technology will now help address labor shortages that are currently limiting affordable viable housing. The use of automated manufacturing and off-site production in this new type of home will also result in less time wasted on on-site building and fitting. 

First ever 100 percent bio-based 3D-printed home unveiled
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new home

Meanwhile, the use of abundant, renewable, locally sourced wood fiber feedstock tackles current supply chain issues. In the future, the homes can also be customized to meet a homeowner’s space and aesthetic preferences and produce faster delivery schedules.

Solutions to pressing problems

“We are finding solutions here at ASCC to the pressing problems that our world faces and that Maine faces, through research on transformative offshore wind technology, next-generation solutions for transportation infrastructure, advanced forest products and large-scale 3D printing, and of course, affordable housing,” said UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. 

“The work that goes on in this lab absolutely exemplifies the work of a land grant institution — an institution that was started in order to help to solve the problems of, and further the economic advancement of, the state of Maine in partnership with the people of Maine. I couldn’t be more proud to point to this lab and exactly how that’s happening right here.”

The new structure was printed in four modules and assembled on site in just half a day. Electricity was installed within two hours of its completion.

“Many technologies are being developed to 3D print homes, but unlike BioHome3D, most are printed using concrete. However, only the concrete walls are printed on top of a conventionally cast concrete foundation. Traditional wood framing or wood trusses are used to complete the roof,” said Dagher, ASCC executive director.