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THE HOUSE THAT 3D PRINTERS BUILT

DFAB HOUSE is the world's first residential building that has not only been digitally planned, but has also been built predominantly digitally using robots and 3D printers ...



Located in Dübendorf, Switzerland, DFAB HOUSE is a three-storey residential abode perched atop Empa and Eawag’s NEST research and innovation building, 2,370-square-foot in size it features curved energy-efficient walls, expressive timber beams and an impressive ornamental concrete ceiling.


Developed by eight ETH Zurich professors in collaboration with planning professionals and industry experts. The innovative and new construction approaches of the DFAB House include mesh mould formwork and reinforcement for production of structurally efficient, non-standard geometries in a distinctly energy- and material-efficient way. A curved concrete wall was fabricated by these means while 3D-printed formwork was deployed to cast the concrete ceiling.



As one can image for a digital home - the DFAB HOUSE is also an intelligent home. A consortium of companies led by digitalSTROM has installed the first smart home solutions in DFAB HOUSE (see Factsheet Digital Living), which are based on the manufacturer-independent digitalSTROM platform. These include intelligent, multi-stage burglar protection, automated glare and shading options, and the latest generation of networked, intelligent household appliances.


However, DFAB HOUSE is smart not only in terms of home electronics, but also in terms of energy management: Photovoltaic modules on the roof supply on average one and a half times as much electricity as the unit itself will consume, while an intelligent control system coordinates all consumption and ensures that no load peaks occur.


Two start-up ideas, accompanied by researchers from Empa and Eawag, are helping to save additional energy: On the one hand, heat from waste water, which would otherwise be lost, is recovered directly in the shower trays via heat exchangers, and on the other hand hot water flows from the pipes back into the boiler when not in use instead of cooling in the water pipes. This method not only saves energy and water, but also reduces the risk of bacteria growing in the pipes.



images © roman keller

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