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3D Printing Construction

Making homes and schools accessible for the poorest countries

March 2021
  • /

3D Printing Construction by Holcim implemented by 14Trees in Lilongwe (Malawi) in 2020

The cost of construction is reduced by 20% & co2 emissions by up to 70% compared to kiln fired bricks

3D Printing Construction by Holcim implemented by Malawi in Salima district (Malawi) in 2021

This technology can also reduce the building’s environmental footprint by more than 50%.

3D Printing Construction

Making homes and schools accessible for the poorest countries

  • World Alliance Member
  • Featured Solution
  • Labelled Solution
Label Date March 15, 2021
By Holcim
From Switzerland
Maturity stage TRL 9 / CRI 3-4 - Commercial Scale Up / Multiple commercial Applications

This solution aims to accelerate the provision of schools in one of the poorest countries in the world, Malawi. More than 36,000 classrooms are needed and thanks to 3D printing, all those buildings could be completed within 10 years. Through 14Trees, Holcim and CDC provide a solution to NGOs and international organizations which are currently delivering schools in that country. The solution is a printing service sold to organizations. Building design and construction execution is handled by the solution provider. This includes the manufacturing of Holcim 3D ink, and the operation of the printer, using only local staff. Pioneering in introducing 3D printing in Africa for the construction of schools and houses, 14Trees is now working on rolling out the solution in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

The Environmental Benefits

  • The wall of a school can be printed in less than 18 hours and those of a house in less than 12 hours, meaning that from design to hand over, a project can be completed in less than two months for a school, and in less than a month for a house
  • Walls are printed with a width of 5 to 7cm which contributes to reducing by 50% the quantity of materials used
  • Use of 3D printing contributes to a 70% reduction in CO2 when compared with conventional methods (burnt bricks made school)
  • By printing homes, this solution saves 14 trees from being cut and burnt to fire the bricks (this is where the company name 14Trees comes from)
  • Thanks to the level of precision of 3D printing, material wastage on job site for wall construction is taken to almost zero compared to conventional constructions

The Financial Benefits

  • 3D printing is expected to be 20% cheaper than conventional methods when used in projects of several units
  • 3D projects are delivered up to 50% faster than conventional projects.

Target client profile

Activity Region

  • Headquarters
  • Activity

Company Profile


Building progress for people and the planet

Headquarters 6300 Zug, Switzerland
Type Company
View company profile Solution website

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The information set out above, is solely for the purposes of information and the Solar Impulse Foundation does not provide any guarantee as to its authenticity, completeness or accuracy. This information does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation to buy into, transact or to enter into any agreement with any of the parties or persons mentioned above. Potential investors or interested parties are solely responsible for their investment or business decisions and for performing any due diligence required by the circumstances. The innovator Holcim has asserted ownership of the intellectual property rights for images, videos, and content showcased above, affirming full and unrestricted usage rights, and has provided explicit permission for the Solar Impulse Foundation to publish such information designated as "public" in the application form.