Sustainability tradeoffs in the adoption of 3D Concrete Printing in the construction industry

Max Adaloudis, Jaime Bonnin Roca (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, 3D Concrete Printing (3DCP) has gained traction as a technological solution for reducing cement production's hefty carbon footprint. Studies assessing the sustainability benefits of 3DCP have not included its impact on social sustainability, nor how construction firms' implementation of this new technology has affected its success. This study applies grounded theory methods to analyze the tradeoffs between environmental, economic, and social sustainability, and how firms' decisions impact these tradeoffs. We gather insights from 20 interviews with 3DCP pioneers in Central and Northern Europe. Our findings suggest that firms' greatest incentive to invest in the technology is not related to the environmental benefits, but rather 3DCP's potential to increase automation and combat the current shortage of skilled labor in the construction sector. Current government procurement rules do not reward sustainability benefits sufficiently to encourage the uptake of 3DCP. Based on our findings, we identify five strategic decisions that companies make which affect 3DCP's sustainability, and discuss opportunities for government to foster the adoption of this technology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number127201
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2021


  • Additive manufacturing
  • 3D Printing
  • Construction
  • Concrete
  • Sustainability
  • Technology adoption


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