Michigan’s First 3D Printed Home –

When we think of Detroit, some think of automobiles, football, or Motown and blues. Lesser known is its rich history in architecture and the arts, and with its ongoing revival over recent years, Michigan’s largest city is expanding its dedication to the arts while strategically placing itself amongst the top high tech hubs. Detroit was ranked the No. 1 emerging startup ecosystem globally in 2022, outranking metropolises such as Minneapolis and Hong Kong. Citizen Robotics, a non-profit organization that is working to reduce the cost of housing construction by adopting robotic construction techniques, has been witnessing this revolution of their beloved city, and teamed up with Insulspan to join the tech movement by building Michigan’s first 3D printed home.

Versatility:

Specializing in forward-thinking construction methods, Citizen Robotics sought out Insulspan to partner with because of the versatility and superior energy efficiency of the company’s Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). SIPs are quickly becoming the future of construction, with their ease and speed of installation catching the attention of builders worldwide. From single family homes to commercial construction and everything in between, SIPs are one of the most versatile ways to achieve an energy efficient, high quality build in record time.

Minimal Labor Needed:

Utilizing a 3D printer recycled from the automotive industry, this new construction home was designed with 3D printed mortar concrete – the walls formed by squeezing thin layers of concrete out of the nozzle of a 10-foot robotic arm. The walls grow upward as the robotic arm continues layer by layer to retrace the shape, leaving gaps for electrical outlets. The material is specially formulated to dry quickly, and the walls rise 10 to 15 millimeters with each layer. This fusion of modern technology with creative artistry means that the home can be constructed with minimal labor costs – this particular home was printed in five short days, and only required two people on site monitoring the equipment as the walls went up. Once the walls were completed, the Insulspan® Structural Insulated Panel roof was quickly fitted into place, and the plumbing and electrical were added through conventional methods.

Energy Efficiency:

The 3D printing combined with Insulspan® Structural Insulated Panels creates an incredibly energy efficient space, with both products significantly contributing to making the home airtight. Boasting an impressive HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score of 46 makes the home especially unique, meaning that it is significantly less expensive to heat and cool – with an average savings of $1,923 annually in energy costs. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average nominal retail electricity price paid by U.S. residential customers continues to go up 4.3% per year – though in 2022, prices registered a staggering year-over-year growth of 10.7%, the highest since the beginning of the century. Assuming energy prices rise at 4.3%, the HERS rating of 46 means the savings to the homeowner over the course of a 30-year mortgage would be an astonishing $118,295.

Accessibility:

A thoughtful feature of this home is accessibility. This home was designed with ground level entryways, two interior 3D printed curved walls, a zero-threshold shower and wider living spaces, allowing those with mobility challenges to comfortably move about.

Results:

This venture was part calculated risk, part leap of faith. While there were challenges to overcome, Michigan’s first 3D printed home also opened a world of possibilities for the future. When speaking with a rep from Insulspan®, he was passionate about not only the home, but the community.


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