AMIE 1.0

AMIE 1.0
AMIE 1.0
AMIE 1.0

Developed through a research collaboration to invent solutions for energy-efficient design, this 3D-printed building produces and stores renewable power and shares energy wirelessly with a 3D-printed vehicle.

Project Facts
  • Collaborators
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory University of Tennessee
Project Facts
  • Collaborators
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory University of Tennessee

A partnership for energy innovation

The Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) project is a research and design collaboration between SOM and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Highly energy efficient, the 3D-printed building was designed by SOM to produce and store renewable power and to share energy wirelessly with a 3D-printed vehicle, which was developed by the DOE.

The mobile power source combined with the structure’s highly energy-efficient design and rooftop renewable energy photovoltaics showcase possibilities for future off-the-grid human shelter. Innovative rapid prototyping took the project from concept to completion in less than one year, involving the University of Tennessee, Clayton Homes, General Electric, Alcoa, NanoPore and Tru-Design in addition to SOM.

AMIE is an outcome of the Governor’s Chair for Energy + Urbanism collaboration, a five-year research exploration in science and design involving ORNL, SOM, and the University of Tennessee’s College of Architecture and Design. This pioneering effort seeks to identify and develop innovative strategies for achieving a sustainable balance between the world’s rapidly growing cities, their energy demands, and the natural environment.

AMIE 1.0
© Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Pushing the limits of 3D printing

Combining scientific knowledge with high performance architectural design, the AMIE building explores the potential for a 3D-printed enclosure to condense the many functions of a conventional wall system into an integrated shell—structure, insulation, air and moisture barriers, and exterior cladding. This could lead to zero-waste construction, reduced material consumption, and buildings that can be ground up and reprinted for new forms and uses.

The SOM team has shown how 3D printing can allow for complex, organic geometries that are optimized to reduce localized stress and mitigate turbulent exterior air flow. The 38x12x13-foot structure, constructed of printed C-shape forms, is post-tensioned with steel rods that reinforce the weak axis of the printed material. The additive manufacturing enclosure was designed to resist lateral and live loads consistent with building codes. Full-scale load testing was undertaken to confirm the performance of the structure.

Maximizing efficiency and renewable energy

The 3D-printed structure’s high level of insulated solid surfaces (79 percent) to glazed areas (21 percent) results in an efficient energy-conserving enclosure. The panels’ interior ribs are designed to host atmospherically insulated panels, vacuum-wrapped panels for the greatest thermal barrier in the least amount of space. Flexible photovoltaic panels are integrated into the roof form and supplement the vehicle energy source.

Its photovoltaics work in tandem with a natural gas powered generator, located in the DOE-created vehicle, to supply energy for lighting, and the GE-developed central microkitchen that incorporates advanced digital display screens, inductive cooking surfaces, waste filtering faucet and sinks, and an undercounter refrigerator. The photovoltaics will charge the enclosure’s battery when the fixtures are not in use.

ORNL’s 3D-printed personal vehicle connects to the structure and its battery to provide supplementary power. AMIE demonstrates the use of bi-directional wireless energy technology and high performance materials to achieve independence from the power grid at peak demand times.

AMIE 1.0
© Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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