The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center in Orono formally unveiled the world’s first bio-based 3D printed house on Monday.

Built using the world’s largest polymer 3D printer, the 600-square-foot BioHome3D is seen as a way to address the housing crisis, labor shortages and supply chain disruptions in a way that is friendly to the environment.

The center is using wood fiber-based polymer, robotics and artificial intelligence to build housing faster, cheaper and more sustainably than traditional stick-built construction, researchers have said.

The prototype unveiled Monday sits on a foundation outside the center and is equipped with sensors for thermal, environmental and structural monitoring to test how it performs through a Maine winter. Researchers expect to use the data collected to improve future designs.

BioHome3D was printed in four modules, then moved to the site and assembled in half a day. Electricity was running within two hours with only one electrician needed on site, according to the center.

It also was fully furnished for the public unveiling on Monday. Gov. Janet Mills and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, were among those in attendance.

It’s unclear what the units would ultimately cost to build on a commercial scale. The center, which has received $30 million in federal funding and $15 million in state funding, hopes to create a separate fabrication facility that could build a house in a few days.

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