Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

U of Maine Unveils World’s First 3D-Printed, Bio-Based Home

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Monday, February 6, 2023   

Engineers with the University of Maine say the successful construction of the world's first bio-based, 3D-printed house could help alleviate the state's critical shortage of affordable housing.

The University's Advanced Structures and Composites Center has unveiled a 600 square-foot single-family home made entirely of recycled wood fibers and bio-resins, and built using the world's largest 3D printer.

Professor Habib Dagher, executive director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University, called the "BioHome3D" a radical solution to a tough problem.

"It gives us an opportunity to have sustainable housing for generations to come," said Dagher. "So, essentially, we're growing everything we're building our homes with."

Engineers worked around the shortage of building materials by using wood waste, already in ample supply at Maine's sawmills. Dagher said his lab is currently scaling up the automation process and could eventually print one biohome every 48 hours.

It's estimated that Maine is currently in need of nearly 20,000 homes. The shortage has been exacerbated by pandemic-related price increases in building materials, as well as the state's continuing labor shortage.

Dagher said the BioHome has held up well through some extreme winter storms, and also drawn attention from fair housing advocates across the globe.

"I think all of us would feel a big sense of accomplishment when we're starting to help people on the street have access to cost-effective homes," said Dagher. "And that's the moment we're building for right now, as a team."

That moment could arrive soon for Dagher and his team.

Their lab - along with Penquis, a regional community action agency - has already received federal funding to build the first 3D-printed neighborhood for unhoused people in the Bangor area.





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