3D printing in the construction industry - A systematic review of the thermal performance in buildings

S. Pessoa (Corresponding author), Ana Sofia Guimarães, Sandra S. Lucas, N. Simões

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Building Information Modelling (BIM) paved the way to better information management in the construction sector, simplifying and encouraging the advent of digital technologies and tools. The application of large-scale additive manufacturing (AM) is growing and therefore subject to intensive research – on account of its disruptive potential to revolutionise the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry.

With this systematic literature review, the authors aim to identify the major advances made so far on AM's applicability to the construction sector, with particular attention being given to the thermal efficiency of 3D printed buildings.

The article begins by presenting the review methodology applied and offering an outline of the current situation in the construction industry, followed by a discussion on different AM processes. Applications in the construction industry are presented and the development of extrudable materials is addressed. The influence of the thermal insulation of the building's envelope on its energy consumption is explained and experimental applications presented.

The state-of-the-art shows that 3D printing (3DP) is still in an early stage and the research remains focused on the printability and structural capacity. There is a noticeable gap on physical aspects such as thermal and acoustic behaviour, which are of major importance to the indoor environment quality. By discussing the difference in performance between commercial thermal insulation materials and the existing 3D printed materials, this research outlines new ways of improving the thermal performance of 3D printed structures, by using additives in the printed mix or by acting on the wall's structure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110794
Number of pages13
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Building construction
  • Energy efficiency
  • Material extrusion
  • Sustainability
  • Thermal insulation


Dive into the research topics of '3D printing in the construction industry - A systematic review of the thermal performance in buildings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this