The Sustainability of 3D Printed Homes
Are 3D printed homes more sustainable? This question has been debated among architects, builders, and homeowners as the need for sustainable construction becomes a higher priority. The answer is not clear-cut, as there are pros and cons to both traditional and 3D homes. While the technology behind 3D printing homes is still in its early developmental stages, there are many who believe that it has the potential to be more sustainable than traditional construction methods. This is primarily because 3D printed homes can be made with less waste and using recycled materials. Here’s what we know so far about the sustainability of 3D printed homes.
3D Printed Homes Create Less Waste
No one can say for sure how 3D printing will change residential construction, but the earliest experiments have shown that 3D printed homes create significantly less waste than traditional construction methods.
The construction industry is responsible for a large amount of waste each year. Even modestly sized homes can create thousands of pounds of landfill deposits. Much of this waste is created by the traditional methods of construction, which involve cutting and shaping materials on site.
In contrast, 3D printed home construction creates very little waste. Because the homes are printed using computer-controlled machines, there is no need to cut or shape the materials beforehand. Additionally, the printer can be programmed to produce the exact amount of material needed to build the home. This results in far less waste, as well as less material necessary for construction overall.
3D Printed Homes Create Less Waste
Most people are surprised to learn that the process of creating cement is the third-largest global contributor of carbon dioxide emissions.
Cement is one of the world’s most widely used building materials, and its production is responsible for a significant amount of carbon dioxide emissions. The main component of cement is limestone, which is heated at high temperatures to produce calcium oxide. This process releases a large amount of carbon dioxide, and because cement production is such an energy-intensive process, it results in high emissions even on a per ton basis. In addition, using fossil fuels in the kilns to heat the limestone also contributes to emissions. As a result, the manufacturing of cement is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Conversely, 3D printed homes can be built using the most sustainable materials. The 3D printing process allows architects and builders to construct homes using sustainable materials, including mud, recycled plastic, and other eco-friendly polymers.
3D Printed Homes Have Almost No Transit Emissions
Another significant advantage of 3D-printed homes is that they can be printed on-site. This means there is no need to transport materials to the construction site, reducing CO2 emissions even further.
Construction projects often involve transporting large amounts of materials from one location to another. This can require a lot of energy and generate significant carbon emissions.
For example, moving construction materials by truck can produce over 8,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of four passenger cars. Air transportation is even more carbon-intensive, generating almost 12,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile. Given the potential environmental impact of construction transport, it is essential to consider ways to minimize emissions.
When 3D printing strategies are paired with locally sourced materials, the carbon emissions from transportation are effectively eliminated.
Get Excited For the Sustainable Future of 3D Printed Homes
As the world becomes increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability, 3D printing is emerging as a more sustainable way to build homes. Not only do 3D printed homes create less waste, but they also have almost no transit emissions. This makes 3D printing an attractive option for those looking to build or renovate homes in a more environmentally conscious way.