The market for construction 3D printing continues to expand around the world and especially in Europe, where Swedish startup ConcretePrint (KonkretPrint AB) has unveiled the country’s first 3D printed home. The young company completed the inaugural structure in June 2021 at an industry plot in Tumba, Sweden. The project was undertaken with financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency.
The 3D printed building, which measures 24 square meters (~258 square feet), was designed to fit a compact living space, kitchen area, bedroom and bathroom. The walls of the house were 3D printed using ConcretePrint’s robotic 3D printing technology, which in its current iteration has a build volume of 9 x 4.2 x 2.5 meters. (ConcretePrint specifies that this system is actually a prototype for an upcoming printer, which will have an even larger capacity of 20 x 15 x 10 meters.)
The house features double walls spanning 50 mm in width, which integrate a gap for insulation as well as for electrical and plumbing systems. In total, the construction of the walls took 28 hours (over the course of 13 days) and consumed roughly $3,400 of material. In terms of labor, the project required the presence of just four people per day, including students from the local vocational school. Other critical features to the home, such as windows, doors and furnishings, will reportedly be supplied by other 3D printing companies. The roof and foundation are being made conventionally.
The printed house is part of a 2.7 million SEK project (~$300K) called “3D printing for an energy-efficient and resource-efficient construction process” that is being led by ConcretePrint in cooperation with concrete manufacturer Betongindustri. The project—backed by the Swedish Energy Agency—also brings on partners including the Botkyrka municipality, Processteknik, EPS Cement, JM, Peab, Tyresö concrete and construction, Arbrå Concrete, Deventus AB, BoWilles Byggmaskiner and Italian concrete pump company Maltech.
The Swedish Energy Agency commented on the construction project, saying: “Considering that the project has energy relevance and that through more efficient production of concrete buildings it can contribute to reduced material consumption, [less] transport and a shorter construction time, the project has a good and credible player constellation and is judged to be able to contribute to the development and streamlining of an industry that is recognized as conservative.”
Indeed, the construction industry has a massive impact on the environment, not only contributing to global CO2 emissions but also consuming vast amounts of material and water. 3D printing is just one way that innovative minds within the construction space are hoping to transform the construction industry for the better, by minimizing material consumption and waste and reducing the need for transport emissions by building structures directly on site.