There’s no doubt that 3D printing is very useful for creating prototypes, and certain parts. Yet in the mind of many experts, good prototypes also can be made with metal working lathes and craft knives.

One recent example of the 3D printed building is a Dutch “boulder house,” a detached home that is the latest in a series of prototypes designed to liken a boulder.

Some experts are concerned about the Passive House capabilities of 3D printed buildings. Can the walls of these structures ensure good thermal performance? Will the structures be airtight and thermal efficient, with strong, sound walls that are easy to clean?

And while 3D printing is a definite timesaver in terms of superstructure design and masonry, substantial time must still be invested in groundworks, services, fixtures and fittings and finishing.

And in terms of embodied carbon, experts also debate how carbon-intensive these structures are, with their sometimes major use of concrete.

Many worry about the waste of resources that may be involved with some of these structures—ultimately, many agree that the key of sustainability lies more in materials and techniques, as opposed to printing method.


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