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World’s first 3D bio-based home unveiled at the University of Maine

The 600-square-foot house was designed using entirely recyclable materials with the goal of combating the lack of low-income housing in Maine.

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine has made history by manufacturing the first 3D-printed home made out of entirely recyclable materials. It's called BioHome3D.

With the use of wood waste from sawmills and “bio-resins,” the university was able to print the floors, walls, and ceiling. The house comes in pieces, ready to be assembled with the doors, windows, and electrical wiring. Insulation, also made of recyclable wood fibers, is already built in.

Several key figures who helped make the project happen attended the unveiling, including Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Gov. Janet Mills.

The engineers behind the project hope that the 600-square-foot 3D printed home is the first step of a larger project, which aims to lessen labor shortages and tackle a lack of affordable housing in Maine.

"Right now, there is a need for 20,000 low-income homes in the state of Maine, and for a low-income one-bedroom home, that costs close to $300,000 right now, if you can get one," Dr. Habib Dagher, the founding executive director of the Advanced Structures & Composites Center, said. "The problem is that there is a lot of people who can't come to Maine who can't work in Maine or live in Maine because they can't find homes. So, what we hope to do is help solve this problem and we're not going to 3D print every home of course, but certainly, we will be part of the housing stock."

The Maine Housing Authority and U.S. Department of Energy partnered to fund the University of Maine to develop the BioHome3D.

According to UMaine, mass production of 3D-printed bio-based homes in factories is still years away, but the first step has been made.

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