Technology & Science·Video

Watch a robot build a 3D printed house

A house built by a 3D robot printer has opened to the public in western France, with backers hailing it as a step forward in green construction.

Technique used in Nantes, France, produces well-insulated building with little waste

Experimental house in Nantes promises new innovation in green construction technologies 1:30

A house built by a 3D robot printer was opened to the public in western France on Saturday, with backers hailing it as a step forward in green construction.

Professor Benoit Furet, whose teams from the University of Nantes headed up the project, said it was the first house built in situ for human habitation using 3D printing techniques.

An employee works to build a 3D printed social housing building called "Yhnova", using a construction 3D printing technique known as BatiPrint3D and developed by researchers from the University of Nantes, in Nantes, France, September 19, 2017. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

The robot printer uses a special polymer material for the two outside layers of the building's walls, which reduces waste, Furet said. When combined with the concrete inner layer, they also provide extremely efficient insulation and up the building's green credentials, .

"We create both the structural part, what will give strength to the building and its mechanical resistance, and also the insulation at the same time," Furet added.

The robot 3D prints the two outer layers from the polymer polyurethane, providing insulation, and concrete is poured in the middle for strength and structural support. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

The five-room house will be allocated to a family according to the usual criteria of social housing, with the first tenants expected to move in in June.

It is equipped with multiple sensors for air quality, humidity, temperature and acoustics, enabling tenants to track the state of the building and save on energy bills in the long term.

Nantes council is also planning new projects in the area, including a 350 square metre (3,767 square foot) public reception building and a suburban housing estate with individual houses of different sizes and shapes.

Other projects are planned elsewhere in France, such as a commercial structure of 700 square metres (7,535 square feet); along with a holiday centre including 80 homes in Mauritius.


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