Maine’s BioHome3D looks to address state’s housing deficit

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In Maine, a 100% biobased, 3D-printed prototype home is being touted as a possible solution to unsustainably high home prices.

Dubbed BioHome 3D, the 600-square-foot domicile features 3D-printed floors, walls and a roof comprised of wood fibers and bioresins. Construction waste was nearly eliminated due to the precision of the printing process.

BioHome 3D hopes to address labor shortages and supply chain issues that are driving high costs and constricting the supply of affordable housing. Less time is required on-site building and fitting up the home due to the use of automated manufacturing and off-site production. Printing using abundant, renewable, locally sourced wood fiber feedstock reduces dependence on a constrained supply chain.

According to the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, Maine needs 20,000 affordable housing units, and the deficit is growing every year. Nearly 60% of low-income renters in Maine spend more than half of their income on housing.

BioHome 3D was constructed at the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hub and Spoke program between the University of Maine and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Partners included MaineHousing and the Maine Technology Institute.

BioHome 3D is currently sited on a foundation outside ASCC and is equipped with sensors for thermal, environmental and structural monitoring to test how it performs through the Maine winter. Researchers expect to use the data collected to improve future designs.