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Why this 3D-printed house could be a gamechanger

Kathleen Schuster
January 19, 2024

This week, a deep dive into the fascinating story behind a 3D-printed house made entirely of bio-based materials. We spoke with people behind BioHome 3D to find out why Maine was almost a fateful setting for this project, and what its effect might be on the US housing crisis.


In this episode of Living Planet, we’re delving into a story about a remarkable 3D-printed house in the US state of Maine. It was made of 100% bio-based materials, which is good news for the construction sector, which accounted for nearly 40% of energy and cross-related CO2 emissions in 2021, according to the United Nation’s Environment Program.

But this story is about much more than technology and innovation. Maine is one of the US states that has become a magnet for Americans searching for affordable houses in the wake of the pandemic. It’s also a state that's seen its once booming paper industry dwindle to a handful of papermills, leaving a glut of sawdust from the timber industry with nowhere to go.

And as it turns out, a research team at the University of Maine was working on another project that turned out to be part of the solution to both of these problems.

In this episode, we speak with Mark Wiesendanger, director of development at MaineHousing; Habib Dagher, the executive director of the Advances Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine; and Dr. Halil Tekinalp of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

You can read more about BioHome 3D here.

Special thanks to Nicole Ogrysko and Kaitlyn Budion of MainePublic for their assistance with recording.

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Living Planet

Listen to the award-winning, half-hour radio program and podcast for your weekly dose of environment stories from around the world.